The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2016 will open in Debrecen, Hungary, on March 16. Hungary has hosted the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships twice before, in 1995 and 1991, both in times in Budapest.
177 skaters from 44 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 exciting with the medalists from the Youth Olympic Games, and the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and looks open. Dmitri Aliev (RUS) debuts at Junior Worlds, but looks ready for the podium after taking silver in the Junior Final and bronze at the Youth Olympic Games (seasons best 226.72 points). Youth Olympic Games silver medalist Deniss Vassiljevs (LAT/seasons best 214.43 points) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalist Daniel Samohin (ISR/seasons best 235.14 points) won’t make it easy for Aliev, though. Nicolas Nadeau (CAN), Alexander Samarin (RUS) and Vincent Zhou (USA) are podium contenders as well. Youth Olympic Games Champion Sota Yamamoto (JPN) had two withdraw as he suffered an injury.
Polina Tsurskaya (RUS) has dominated the Junior Ladies this season and won each international event she entered so far including the Junior Grand Prix Final and the Youth Olympic Games (seasons best 195.28 points). Competition should come from Junior Grand Prix Final and Youth Olympic Games silver medalist Maria Sotskova (RUS/seasons best 186.30 points) and Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist Elizaveta Tursynbaeva (KAZ/seasons best 178.56 points). Other podium contenders include 2015 World Junior bronze medalist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Alisa Fedichkina (RUS), Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN) and Marin Honda (JPN).
In the Pairs, ISU Junior Grand Prix Final and Youth Olympic Games Champions Ekaterina Borisova/Dmitri Sopot (RUS) are aiming at their third major title this season. The team from Perm has earned a seasons best of 171.86 points. Youth Olympic Games silver medalists Anna Duskova/Petr Bidar (CZE/seasons best162.33 points) and Junior Grand Prix Finalists Anastasia Gubanova/Alexei Sintsov (RUS/seasons best 157.09 points) want to challenge the leaders. Other top contenders include Russian Junior Champions Anastasia Mishina/Vladislav Mirzoev (RUS) and Junior Grand Prix Finalists Renata Oganesian/Mark Bardei (UKR).
2015 World Junior silver medalists Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA) are the team to beat in the Ice Dance competition. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions come with a season best of 162.63 points to Debrecen. They have to watch out for ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Anna Loboda/Pavel Drozd (RUS/seasons best 153.64 points) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA/seasons best 160.79 points). Other contenders include ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Betina Popova/Yuri Vlasenko (RUS), Youth Olympic Games Champions Anastasia Shpilevaya/Grigory Smirnov (RUS) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Marie-Jade Lauriault/Romain Le Gac (FRA).
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$ 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$ 3,500 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 2016 is as follows:
- Wednesday, March 16: Junior Men & Junior Pairs Short Program
- Thursday, March 17: Junior Short Dance, Junior Pairs Free Skating
- Friday, March 18: Junior Ladies Short Program, Junior Men Free Skating
- Saturday, March 19: Junior Ladies Free Skating, Junior Free Dance
- Sunday, March 20: Exhibition Gala