Tallinn / Estonia

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2015 opened in Tallinn, Estonia, on Wednesday with the Ladies and Pairs Short Programs. Estonia hosts the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships for the first time, but has hosted the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in 2010. 163 skaters from 42 ISU members have been entered for the Championships.

Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) leads Junior Ladies after Short Program

Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia took the lead in the Ladies Short Program followed by her teammate Serafima Sakhanovich. Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi currently sits in third place.

Skating to “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”, Medvedeva completed a triple flip-triple toe combination, a triple Lutz, double Axel as well as level-four spins and footwork. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion set a new personal best for herself with 68.48 points. “I am pleased with my performance for today, but there were a few small errors that I have to work on and then everything will be as it should be. Overall I am in a very positive mood now and I got the maximum from this performance”, the 15-year-old noted.

Sakhanovich stumbled on her opening triple flip-triple toe combination in her routine to “My Sweet and Tender Beast”, but recovered to land a double Axel, triple Lutz and three level-four spins. The 15-year-old scored 63.09 points. “I am not very pleased with my performance as there was a serious mistake. Everything else I did well for myself, all spins, but this error on the combination has been following me the whole season in the short program”, the reigning World Junior silver medalist commented.

Higuchi produced a triple Lutz and double Axel in her program to “Beloved Czardas” by Vittorio Monti, but she turned out of the triple flip-triple toe combination. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist picked up 61.27 points, a new personal best. “I am glad that I have the same placement as in the Final and I’ll try my best to be in the top three in the free skating as well”, the 14-year-old told the post event press conference.

Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) is less than three points behind Higuchi in fourth place with 58.72 points. Nicole Rajicova (SVK) finished fifth (57.15 points) and Yuka Nagai (JPN) is currently ranked sixth (56.93 points).  

43 Junior Ladies competed in the Short Program and the top 24 qualified for the Free Skating.

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) take Junior Pairs Short Program

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin of China won the Junior Pairs Short Program. Canadians Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau came second and Russia’s Lina Fedorova/Maxim Miroshkin placed third. The side by side double Lutz and the throw double or triple loop are required elements in the Junior Pairs Short Program.

Yu/Jin’s performance to “Yulunga (Spirit Dance)” was highlighted by a level-four triple twist and a throw triple loop. The ISU Grand Prix Finalists picked up a level four also for the side by side spin, the footwork, death spiral and the lift to score 62.56 points, just short of their personal best. “We are pleased with our performance today, especially since we haven’t been training this (junior) short program a lot. Coming back from seniors to junior, we don’t think that it is easier to skate in junior competitions, because the competitors here are very strong as well”, Jin said.

Performing to “The Grand Hotel Budapest” soundtrack, Seguin/Bilodeau landed a well synchronized side by side double Lutz, triple twist and also earned a level four for five elements. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions collected 61.32 points, which was a new personal best. “We did the best we could. We are excited for the free skating tomorrow”, Seguin noted. “We reached 60 points which was our goal, so we are happy about that”, Bilodeau added.

Federova/Miroshkin completed a high triple twist, throw triple loop and level four footwork, lift and death spiral, but he wobbled on the entry to the flying side by side combination spin while her double Lutz received an edge call. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists earned 58.27 points. “It wasn’t bad, but there were some small errors we need to work on. We’ll skate better tomorrow”, Federova commented.

Anastasia Gubanova/Alexei Sintsov (RUS) finished fourth at 50.36 points followed by Chelsea Liu/Brian Johnson (USA) with 49.96 points and Ami Koga/Francis Boudreau Audet (JPN) with 48.45 points.

Renata Ogenasian/Mark Bardei (UKR) withdrew following the Short Program as he is ill. They stood in 12th place. 13 Junior Pairs competed in the Short Program.

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2015 continue Thursday with the Short Dance and the Pairs Free Skating. For more information, full entry lists and results please see: www.isu.org and http://www.jwskate2015.eu/