Camden Pulkinen took a narrow lead after the Junior Men's Short Program in Zagreb 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Camden Pulkinen (USA) took the lead in a very competitive Junior Men’s Short Program as the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships opened in Zagreb (CRO) on Wednesday. Tomoki Hiwatashi (USA) placed second followed by Italy’s Daniel Grassl.
The top 10 skaters are separated by just over five points and a lot can happen in the Free Skating on Thursday.
Skating to “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla, Pulkinen produced a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and triple flip as well as two level-four spins and footwork to set a new season's best of 82.41 points.
“I’m very happy about the result and how I skated,” the 18-year-old said. “I know there was a little mistake with the [flying camel] spin on levels, so I could have been even better than I was today. The competition was fantastic. A lot of people skated clean programs and I am very happy that I was able to end up on top today and I’m looking forward to the free skating.”
Hiwatashi’s performance to “Cry Me a River” by Arthur Hamilton featured a triple Axel, triple flip and triple Lutz-triple toe. The 2016 World Junior bronze medalist picked up a level four for his three spins and achieved a season’s best with 81.50 points.
“I was able to give my best today,” the 19-year-old said. “I got a personal best. There were some places I can fix, the step sequence I can fix.”
Tomoki Hiwatashi is in second place in Croatia 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Grassl landed a somewhat shaky triple Axel in his routine to “Rain, In Your Black Eyes” by Ezio Bosso, but then went on to complete a triple flip and triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. The Italian Champion earned 81.19 points.
“It’s my first Junior Worlds and I was very excited and nervous. I did a little mistake on the triple Axel, but I hope the free program will be good,” the 16-year-old commented.
Daniel Grassl competes in the Junior Men's Short Program 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist (RUS) remains within striking distance of the podium after a strong performance and a score of 80.33 points. (USA) follows in fifth with 79.98 points and Roman Savosin (RUS) came sixth on 78.33 points.
2018 World Junior silver medalist (RUS) is currently sitting in ninth (77.71 points) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion (CAN) placed 10th (77.00 points).
The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships will be available to watch at https://www.isu.org/figure-skating in certain countries.