The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2015 will open in Tallinn, Estonia, on March 4. Estonia hosts the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships for the first time, but has hosted the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in 2010.
163 skaters from 42 ISU members have been entered for the Championships. Following a decision of the ISU congress in summer 2012, no preliminary rounds are skated, but participants need to have achieved a total element minimum score for both Short and Free Program. 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
Competition in the Men’s event will be tight with the participants of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and returning medalists. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Shoma Uno (JPN) travels with a seasons best of 256.45 points, achieved at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, to Tallinn. Competition should come from ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Sota Yamamoto (JPN/seasons best 213.12 points) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Alexander Petrov (RUS/seasons best 231.53 points). They need to watch out for 2014 World Junior silver medalist Adian Pitkeev (RUS), 2014 World Junior bronze medalist Nathan Chen (USA) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalist Boyang Jin (CHN).
The Russian Ladies swept the podium in 2013 and 2014 are back with two of last year’s medalists. 2014 World Junior bronze medalist Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) has dominated the Junior circuit so far and struck gold at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final (seasons best 190.89 points), but she faces stiff competition. 2014 World Junior silver medalist Serafima Sakhanovich (RUS) has a seasons best of 191.96 points and a silver medal from the Junior Final. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN/seasons best 178.09 points) is aiming at the podium in her debut at Junior Worlds. The three Junior Grand Prix Final medalists need to watch out for Maria Sotskova (RUS), Yuka Nagai (JPN) and Karen Chen (USA).
In the Pairs, 2014 World Junior Champions Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) return to the junior level and hope to defend their title. The ISU Grand Prix Finalists have a seasons best of 187.79 points. The challenge should come from ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau (CAN/seasons best 175.57 points) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Lina Fedorova/Maxim Miroshkin (RUS/seasons best 165.78 points). Other contenders include Daria Beklemisheva/Maxim Bobrov (RUS), Renata Oganesian/Mark Bardei (UKR) and Chelsea Liu/Brian Johnson (USA).
In the Ice Dance event, reigning World Junior silver medalists and ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anna Yanovskaya/ Sergey Mozgov (RUS) have the highest seasons best with 152.00 points and finally want to earn the only junior title they are still missing. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Betina Popova/Yuri Vlasenko (RUS/seasons best 147.31 points), Alexandra Nazarova/Maxim Nikitin (UKR/148.48 points), 2014 World Junior bronze medalists Madeline Edwards/Zhao Kai Pang (CAN/seasons best 134.42 points) are ready to challenge the leaders. Other to watch include Mackenzie Bent/Garrett Mackeen (CAN), Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA), Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA) and Carolina Moscheni/Adam Lukacs (HUN).
Please note that for the seasonal 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 a global prize money of US$ 200,000 at the World Junior Championships to skaters/couples placed 1st to 12th. 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$ 3,500 4th place US$ 4,500
5th place US$ 2,750 5th place US$ 4,000
6th place US$ 2,500 6th place US$ 3,750
7th place US$ 2,250 7th place US$ 3,500
8th place US$ 2,000 8th place US$ 3,000
9th place US$ 1,750 9th place US$ 2,750
10th place US$ 1,500 10th place US$ 2,250
11th place US$ 1,250 11th place US$ 1,750
12th place US$ 1,000 12th place US$ 1,500
The schedule of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2015 is as follows:
Wednesday, March 4: Ladies Short Program, Pairs Short Program
Thursday, March 5: Short Dance, Pairs Free Skating
Friday, March 6: Men Short Program, Ladies Free Skating
Saturday, March 7: Free Dance, Men Free Skating
Sunday, March 8: Exhibition Gala