Sofia, Bulgaria

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Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin (RUS)

Skoptcova/Aleshin (RUS) take strong lead in Junior Short Dance

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin of Russia took a commanding lead as the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2018 opened Wednesday in Sofia (BUL) with the Short Dance. Canada’s Majorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha are currently ranked second, followed by Arina Ushakova/Maxim Nekrasov of Russia.

Dancing to Rhumba, Cha Cha and Samba, Skoptcova/Aleshin picked up a level four for the twizzles, the curve lift and the second Cha Cha pattern, as well as a level three for the side by side footwork and the first Cha Cha pattern as they claimed a personal best of 66.44 points.

“We are very pleased with our performance. It was one of the best of the season, if not the best,” Skoptcova said. “We don’t have any special expectations (for the Free Dance). We just want to show what we’ve trained during the season.” 

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Majorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha (CAN)

Lajoie/Lagha’s dance to the “Bla Bla Bla Cha Cha Cha” and Samba “Tu Picadura” featured a level-four stationary lift, twizzles and Cha Cha pattern - scoring the ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists 62.39 points.

“It was a bit unexpected to be second after the short. We just have to not let this placement affect us and stay focused on the free dance. We just want to have fun and show what we can do, and do the same as in practice. There is nothing more to do,” Lagha said.

Ushakova/Nekrasov earned a level three for three elements and a level four for the lift and twizzles in their dance to Cha Cha, Rhumba and Salsa, setting a personal best of 61.29 points.

“Obviously it is sad to say goodbye to it (the Latin Short Dance), but we like to learn something new and we’re looking forward to moving on,” Ushakova said.

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Arina Ushakova and Maxim Nekrasov (RUS)

Sofia Shevchenko/Igor Eremenko (RUS) are not far behind in fourth on 60.95 points, while Caroline Green/Gordon Green (USA) are ranked fifth on 60.86 points. Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) placed sixth on 60.85 points after Ponomarenko struggled with the twizzles.

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships continue tonight with the Junior Pairs Short Program. For more information, full entry lists and results please see the event website and the official website. Follow the event on social media using the hashtags #WorldJFigure and #FigureSkating.