Sofia / Bulgaria

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Artur Danielian (RUS), Alexey Erokhov (RUS), Matteo Rizzo (ITA)

Erokhov (RUS) skates to Junior Men's Gold as Krasnozhon (USA) drops out

Russia’s Alexey Erokhov won men's gold at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia (BUL) on Saturday after favorite Alexei Krasnozhon (USA) pulled out injured. 

Artur Danielian made it a one-two for the Russians by soaring from eighth to second to claim the silver medal. Matteo Rizzo earned the bronze and became the first Italian man to win a medal at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

In a dramatic turn of the events, Short Program leader Krasnozhon suffered an injury right at the beginning of his Free Skating and had to withdraw.

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Alexey Erokhov (RUS)

Erokhov opened his program to Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov with a quad toe-triple toe combination and followed up with a triple Axel-double toe as well as four more clean triple jumps.

The 18-year-old collected a level four for his spins and footwork, but he stepped out of a quadruple Salchow and fell on a triple toe. Erokhov scored 154.98 points and racked up a total of 231.52 to win with 12.76 points to spare.

“This victory means a lot to me. I want to move up to the senior level next year and I am glad I was able to end my junior career with this victory,” Erokhov said.

“I was focused on winning, but I got nervous when I saw that Alexei (Krasnozhon) was withdrawing. I did not know what had happened and when I would get to skate. I am upset that he had to withdraw and I wish him a quick recovery."

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Artur Danielian (RUS)

Danielian, at 14 years old the youngest competitor in the men’s event, delivered a clean performance to ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ that featured eight clean triples including two Axels and level-four spins. The National Junior bronze medalist posted a personal best of 149.61 points and totaled 218.76 points.

“Second place is unexpected to me. I came here to skate clean and to show what we’ve worked on this season and to make the people that work with me happy," Danielian said.

"This second place is a motivation for me to continue to work, learn quads and be competitive. I want to skate well in the Junior Grand Prix, get to the Junior Grand Prix Final and come back to Junior Worlds (next season).”

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Matteo Rizzo (ITA)

Skating to a Beatles medley, Rizzo landed two triple Axels and four more triples, but doubled a Lutz and a loop to score 141.34 points. The Italian Champion ranked sixth in the Free Skating, but overall moved up to make the podium with 211.58 points.

“This is very important to me. It is not the best way to medal, but this is competition and anything can happen. It was my last junior competition and I think it (this medal) is a big step for me,” the 19-year-old said.

The unfortunate Krasnozhon fell on his opening quadruple Salchow, injuring his right leg. He was unable to continue the performance and was taken to hospital for examination.

Elsewhere the standings shuffled quite a bit. Joseph Phan (CAN) moved up from 14th place to fourth overall. He was ranked third in the Free Skating and missed the podium by less than one point (210.91 points). Roman Savosin (RUS) pulled up from 12th to fifth on 207.91 points. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Camden Pulkinen (USA) rose from 17th place to finish sixth (207.88 points). Meanwhile, Mitsuki Sumoto (JPN) faded from third to 9th after several errors (199.51 points).