Sofia / Bulgaria

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2014 continued in Sofia, Bulgaria, Thursday with the
Men’s Short Program and Pairs Free Skating.

Nam Nguyen (CAN) captures Junior Men’s Short Program
Nam Nguyen of Canada captured the Junior Men’s Short Program, edging out China’s Boyang Jin
and Shoma Uno of Japan for a narrow lead.

Skating to “Unsquare Dance” by Dave Brubeck, Nguyen, hit a triple Axel, a triple loop, triple Lutz-triple toeloop and two level-four spins. The Canadian posted a new seasons best with 72.87 points. “I think that was the best short that I’ve ever done in competition. I was able to do my triple Axel internationally and I’m very pleased with how I’ve done today. I hope to continue that for the long program on Saturday”, the 15- year-old said. “Training with Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez, they have inspired me a lot. Their performances have motivated myself to work even harder for my run throughs”, he added.

Jin’s performance to “La Bayadere” by Leon Minkus featured a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe and the triple loop as well as two level-four spins. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion improved his seasons best with a score of 71.51 points. “Today my first jump, the triple Axel, wasn’t perfect, but after that the jumps, the triple Lutz-triple toe and the triple loop were okay”, the skater from Harbin noted. “I didn’t perform these elements (spins and footwork) perfectly yet in my program. After the competition I will work on this to make sure that next time I get a level four for everything”, the 16-year-old said.

Uno landed a triple flip-triple toe combination, a triple loop and double Axel in his routine to “The Blessed Spirits”. He picked up a level four for all three spins and the footwork to earn 70.67 points, a new seasons best. “I felt a lot of pressure and I was worried before my short program, but I am very glad that I was able to perform to a level I am content with”, the 16-year-old told the press.

Keiji Tanaka (JPN) in fourth place is less than one point away from the podium at 70.57 points. Alexander Petrov (RUS) in fifth (69.72 points) and Nathan Chen (USA) with 69.65 points in sixth place remain close to the podium as well. 38 skaters competed in the Short Program and the top 24 are qualified for the Free Skating on Saturday. The required solo jump in the Junior Men’s Short Program for the 2013/14 season is
the double or triple loop and the required spins are the flying sit spin and the change foot camel spin.

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) skate off with Junior Pairs gold
Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin of China skated off with the Junior Pairs gold medal. Russia’s Evgenia
Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov claimed the silver medal and Maria Vigalova/Egor Zakroev took the bronze.

Yu/Jin completed a side by side triple toe, double Axel-double Axel, a triple twist, throw triple Salchow and two level-four lifts, but she fell on the throw triple loop. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions collected level fours for the two lifts and the side by side spin to score 111.19 points. They totaled 173.77 points to take the title. Yu/Jin were silver medalists in 2012 but finished off the podium in 2013. “Today we made a mistake, we missed one element. But overall we are pleased that we performed up to our level”, Jin said. “This was our last year in juniors and we are moving up to the senior level and hopefully will give good performances”, he added.

Tarasova/Morozov’s program to “Air” and “Four Seasons” included a big triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow as well as level-four lifts and spins, but she stumbled on the side by side triple Salchow while he stepped of the triple toe. The Russian Junior Champions posted a seasons best with 108.74 points and accumulated 168.20 points overall. “We are happy with the result, but there are things we need to work on, things that were lacking today and that we can improve”, Morozov told the post-event press conference. “We cannot skate in juniors next season as we are aging out. So our goal is to be a factor in the senior National team for Europeans and Worlds”, he explained.

Vigalova/Zakroev completed a triple twist, double Axel-double toeloop and a throw triple loop in their routine to Giselle. However, she missed the throw triple flip. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists scored 97.16 points and moved up one spot to third in their debut at the Junior World Championship with 152.48 points. “Today our free skating did not go so well, we made many mistakes. A lot of people are used to seeing us skating clean. Maybe it was not enough today. We are happy that we were able to reach the podium and morally this third place might help us in the future to improve”, Zakroev commented.

Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat (RUS) slipped from third to fourth after doubling a toeloop and two throw jumps that were supposed to be triples (150.67 points). Madeline Aaron/Max Settlage (USA)
remained in fifth place with 144.91 points and Mary Orr/Phelan Simpson (CAN) came sixth (132.02 points).