The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2018 will open in Sofia, Bulgaria on March 7. The city will host this event for the fifth time after doing so in 2001, 2008, 2009 and 2014.
186 skaters from 45 ISU members have been entered for the Championships, 49 Men, 45 Ladies, 17 Pairs and 28 Ice Dance couples. All skaters compete in the Short Program/Short Dance and the top 24 single skaters, top 16 Pairs and top 20 Ice Dance teams proceed to the Free Skating/Free Dance.
Overview of the top contenders
The Junior Men’s event looks highly competitive with ISU Grand Prix Final Champion Alexei Krasnozhon (USA) and medalists Camden Pulkinen (USA) and Mitsuko Sumoto (JPN). Krasnozhon has a season’s best of 236.35 points, while Pulkinen has 217.10 and Sumoto has 214.45 points. Alexey Erokhov (RUS) wants to improve on his fifth place finish at the Junior Grand Prix Final (season’s best 232.79). The World Junior bronze medalist in 2016, Tomoko Hiwatashi (USA) returns to the event for another shot at the podium. All 2017 medalists have moved up to the senior level.
In the Junior Ladies, ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Alexandra Trusova (RUS) and silver medalist Alena Kostornaia (RUS) are considered the top contenders, but they have to watch out for Rika Kihira (JPN). Trusova, who has landed a quadruple Salchow in a national competition last month, comes with a season’s best of 205.61 points to Sofia while Kostornaia scored 204.58 points and Kihira, who has landed the triple Axel in competition, has 192.45 points. Other contenders include Eunsoo Lim (KOR), Stanislava Konstantinova (RUS), Mako Yamashita (JPN) and Young You (KOR). Last year’s medalists have all moved up to the senior ranks.
Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS)
The Junior Pairs looks wide open with ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS/season’s best 172.94 points), 2017 World Junior bronze medalists Yumeng Gao/Zhong Xie (CHN/season’s best 165.03) and JGP Croatia Cup Champions Polina Kostiukovich/Dmitrii Ialin (RUS/season’s best 165.48). 2016 World Junior silver medalist Anastasia Mishina is back with her new partner Aleksandr Galiamov (RUS). Others to watch include Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud (CAN) and Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov (USA). 2017 World Junior Champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Windsor (AUS) have moved up to the senior level following their victory at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final.
In the Junior Ice Dance, ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin (RUS/season’s best 153.61 points) will face yet again Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA/season’s best 151.76 points). ISU Grand Prix finalists Majorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha (CAN), Arina Ushakova/Maxim Nekrasov (RUS) and Sofia Shevchenko/Igor Eremenko (RUS) will challenge for the podium as well.
Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin (RUS)
Please note that for the season’s best total scores only the ISU Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior), ISU Championships, Olympic Winter Games and the ISU Challenger Series have been taken into consideration, not other international competitions or National Championships.
The ISU awards global prize money of US$ 138,500 at the World Junior Championships to skaters/couples placed 1st to 5th. The prize money is awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples as follows:
Men and Ladies Pairs and Dance (per couple)
1st place US$ 10,000 1st place US$ 15,000
2nd place US$ 7,000 2nd place US$ 10,500
3rd place US$ 5,000 3rd place US$ 7,500
4th place US$ 3,000 4th place US$ 4,500
5th place US$ 2,750 5th place US$ 4,000
The schedule of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2018 is as follows:
Wednesday, March 7: Junior Short Dance & Junior Pairs Short Program
Thursday, March 8: Junior Men Short Program, Junior Pairs Free Skating
Friday, March 9: Junior Ladies Short Program, Junior Free Dance
Saturday, March 10: Junior Men and Junior Ladies Free Skating
Sunday, March 11: Exhibition Gala
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.