Arena Lodowa in Tomaszów Mazowiecki (POL)©International Skating Union (ISU)
The new Indoor Arena in Tomaszów Mazowiecki (POL) will host its first international Speed Skating races this weekend. The ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating 2018/19 series will debut at the Arena Lodowa and will be the first of a three leg event. The start lists will feature many new names, because most of last year's Champions are trying their luck in the senior ranks this season.
Francesco Betti (ITA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Since the inaugural ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating in in 2008/09 many youngsters have had their first taste of international competition in these Junior events. The format is comparable to the Senior ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series, but the juniors only have three events in the whole season. After Tomaszów Mazowiecki the competition will resume in Helsinki on January 26-27, and the final will be held at Baselga di Piné on February 9-10.
Two years ago a neo-senior World Cup was added to the Junior World Cup Series. Participation in the Junior World Cup is open to Junior A and Junior B Skaters, born between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2003, and to Junior C Skaters born between July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2004. Participation in the Neo-seniors division is open to Skaters born between July 1, 1995 and June 30, 1999.
Beune, Leerdam and Johansson leave open playing field
Michelle de Jong, Jutta Leerdam and Femke Beuiling(NED)2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Last season Dutch Skaters Joy Beune and Jutta Leerdam dominated the ladies' Junior World Cup, but they moved up to the senior ranks and already competed in Obihiro (JPN) last week. Their compatriot Michelle de Jong who already was on the 500m podium in last year's World Junior Speed Skating Championships should be ready to take over. She's still eligible for the Junior World Cup. Lemi Williamson (JPN) is still eligible too and she looks like the favorite for this year's long distances, after a 3000m bronze behind Beune and Leerdam in last year's World Championships.
Norway's Speed Skating prodigy Allan Dahl Johansson (NOR) was the first World Junior Champion since Sverre Lunde Petersen last year. He also joined the seniors this season. Japan's Kouki Kubo, who won last year's World 1000m title in a new World Junior Record, is still on the start list of the Junior World Cup. Last year's World Championships bronze medallist in the 5000m, Egor Shkolin (RUS) will also skate in the Junior ranks this weekend.
Ayano Sato (JPN)2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Good performances in the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating do not guarantee future success, but many Junior Champions went on to win senior silverware too. Ayano Sato (JPN), the 2016 Junior World Cup winner in de Mass Start, won her first senior World Cup Mass Start event in Heerenveen last year and captured the Olympic Team Pursuit title in PyeongChang together with the Takagi sisters Miho and Nana.
Kai Verbij (NED)2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Other successful junior champions include 2017 European and World Sprint Champion Kai Verbij (NED), who won the Junior World Cup Mass Start in the 2011/12 season and the Junior World Cup 1000m in the 2012/13 season.
For full entry lists and further information regarding the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating Series please visit: https://www.isu.org/speed-skating/speed-skating-events/junior-world-cup-speed-skating. Results are here and you can follow the discussion on social media by using #JWCSpeed and #SpeedSkating.
The ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series will be available on in some countries on the ISU Skating Channel.