The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2012 officially opened in Minsk, Belarus, on February 29 with the Short Dance and the Pairs Short Program.

Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) take lead in Junior Short Dance
Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin of Russia took the lead in the Junior Short Dance ahead of their teammates Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin and Anna Yanovskaya/Sergey Mozgov.

Sinitsina/Zhiganshin sparkled in their dance to Cha Cha and Samba, picking up a level four for the twizzles, the first Cha Cha sequence and the lift, while the second Cha Cha sequence and the side by side footwork were a level three. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions earned 63.78 points, improving their seasons best by 2.04 points. It was a good performance today, but obviously we would have liked to get a level four for all elements, Zhiganshin said. It's our first Junior Worlds and I felt nervous, but I tried not to think about this. We just want to skate clean, Sinitsina added.

Stepanova/Bukin's dance to the Caramelio Cha Cha and La Collegiala Samba was highlighted by two level-four Cha Cha patterns, fast twizzles and a rotational lift. The Muscovites scored 62.68 points. Today I didn't feel so confident, but overall we are happy with our performance, Stepanova told the press. For us, it's also our first Junior Worlds and we were nervous because of that but we tried to skate as we do in practice, she continued.

Yanovskaya/Mozgov turned in a strong performance to Cha Cha and Samba as well and got a level four for the twizzles and the rotational lift to collect 58.89 points. I think our skate today was a little dirty, not perfect, but overall it wasn't bad. The emotional part of the performance comes easier to us than the technical part, Mozgov explained.

Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) and Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton (USA) remained in medal contention in fourth and fifth place. Papadakis/Cizeron scored 58.09 points with while Aldrige/Eaton got 57.76 points. Nicole Orford/Thomas Williams (CAN) placed sixth with 55.86 points.

Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) win Junior Pairs Short Program
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China won the Junior Pairs Short Program followed by their teammates Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin. Ekaterina Petaikina/Maxim Kurdyukov of Russia placed third.

Sui/Han put out a dynamic performance to American country music, producing a high throw triple loo, the required double twist and double Lutz as well as a difficult lift, spin and death spiral that all garnered a level four. The reigning Four Continents Champions scored 59.29 points. Today we felt really good. We did our best int the short porgram. It was a pleasant night, Han shared. This our third year at Junior Worlds and each year all the teams are skating very well. Each time we learn and improve, he continued.

Yu/Jin's program to The Nutcracker featured a big throw triple loop, high level-four double twist as well as a solid side by side double Lutz. They also had a level four for the lift, death spiral and pair combination spin to post a new seasons best with 54.72 points. Today's performance was really good. We did everything we can do and it was one of our best. Hopefully tomorrow we can skate even better in the free skating, Jin commented.

Petaikina/Kudryukov landed a throw triple loop, double twist in their routine to Sarabande and earned a level four for three elements. The Muscovites were awarded 51.18 points, a new seasons best. It took us a long time to get to this point in international competition. Today was one of the best performances of the season. I hope that we skate as well tomorrow and place where we deserve to be, Petaikina told the post-event press conference.

Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) finished fourth with another solid performance and 50.81 points. Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat (RUS) are currently ranked fifth with 50.50 points. Katherine Bobak/Ian Beharry round up the top six with 49.77 points.

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships continue Thursday with the Men's Short Program and the Pairs Free Skating. For more information and full results please see: