Sofia / Bulgaria


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 WJFSC Podium Pairs GettyImages 929369768

Polina Kostiukovich/Dmitrii Ialin (RUS), Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS) and Mishina/Aleksandr Galiamov (RUS)

Pavliuchenko/Khodykin lead Russian sweep of Junior Pairs podium

Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin led the Russian pairs to the first podium sweep in 32 years at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2018 in Sofia (BUL) on Thursday. Polina Kostiukovich/Dmitrii Ialin edged Anastasia Mishina/Aleksandr Galiamov to take the silver medal. Russian pairs had swept the podium twice before at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in 1985 and 1986.

Pavliuchenko/Khodykin opened their program to ‘Chicago’ with a triple toe-triple toe sequence, but Pavliuchenko touched down on the second jump. Unfazed, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists reeled off a triple twist, side by side triple Salchow, throw triple Lutz, throw triple loop as well as level-four lifts and spins.

The couple from Moscow set a personal best of 117.41 points in the Free Skating and totaled 180.53 points to take the title in their ISU World Junior Championships debut.

“We are pleased with the result. There were still some minor mistakes, probably because of nerves and stress - it was the (Junior) World Championship after all - but overall we are happy with our performance,” Khodykin said.

“For the future, we want to perfect what we have and maybe learn new elements. That could be jumps or pair elements.”

WJFSC PavliuchenkoKhodykin GettyImages 929357334

Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin (RUS)

Kostiukovich/Ialin’s program to ‘Xotica’ was featured a quadruple twist, throw triple loop and spectacular lifts. However, Kostiukovich fell on the throw triple Salchow and the triple toeloop.

With 106.22 points, the team from St Petersburg was ranked third in the Free Skating, but held on to second place overall with 167.99 points.

“We are happy about the result, but there were quite a few errors and falls in the program. We prepared very well, but the last starting number affected us. We’ll continue to work to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Kostiukovich said.

Skating to ‘Conquest of Paradise’, Mishina/Galiamov completed a high triple twist, throw triple loop and triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, but Mishina went down on the side by side triple Salchow.

The 2016 World Junior silver medalist and her new partner were second in the Free Skating with 110.29 points and accumulated 167.24 points to move up from fourth to third place.

“We are happy to be here - it is not easy to get selected in Russia. It was not our best performance - we can skate without mistakes,” Mishina said.

When asked about the success of the Russian pairs, Galiamov added, “Russian pairs are working very hard, working a lot on the elements and all that work bears fruit and leads to a result.”

The 2017 World Junior bronze medalists Yumeng Gao/Zhong Xie (CHN) slipped from third to fourth on 164.70 points. Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov (USA) pulled up from sixth to fifth place (160.09 points) while Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud (CAN) dropped one spot to sixth (158.96 points).

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships continue Friday with the Junior Ladies Short Program and the Junior Free Dance. 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.