ISU World Junior Championships 2017 in Helsinki (FIN)©International Skating Union (ISU)
After Helsinki hosted the ISU World Junior Championships 2017 the world's fastest youngsters will return to the Oulunkylän liikuntapuisto outdoor rink for the second ISU Junior World Cup of the 2018/19 season. Canada and the Netherlands dominated the first World Cup in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, in November.
Joy Beune, Jutta Leerdam and Sanne In 't Hof (NED) at the World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Helsinki (FIN) 2017©International Skating Union (ISU)
In 2017 Dutch Chris Huizinga and Jutta Leerdam won the World Junior titles in Helsinki, but they moved up to the senior ranks since. Leerdam finished fourth in the European Sprint Championships in Collalbo two weeks ago, while Huizinga is selected to skate the Mass Start at the World Single Distance Championships in Inzell in February. Their performances could be an inspiration for the current youngsters in Helsinki.
Young sister De Jong
Michelle de Jong (NED) at the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Powerhouse Canada will not attend the Junior World Cup in Finland and Dutch spearhead Femke Kok, who won two individual gold medals and the Team Sprint title in Tomaszów Mazowiecki is not on the start list either. New names are ready to take over, such as Michelle de Jong (NED). She must be inspired by her older sister Antoinette de Jong (NED) winning the European Allround title in Collalbo two weeks ago. Michelle already won the 500m and joined Kok in golden the Team Sprint squad at the World Cup in Poland in November. She will face competition from compatriot Robin Groot and Italy's Laura Peveri (ITA) in the ladies' junior ranks.
Hallgeir Engebråten (NOR) at the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
In the Men's junior competition Hallgeir Engebråten (NOR) leads the 1500m and 3000m World Cup rankings. Japan will be absent and without Taiyo Nonomura, Engebråten's main rivals will probably be Francesco Betti (ITA), who is third in the 3000m and fourth in the 1500m, and Sergei Loginov (RUS), who is third in the 1500m. Koki Kubo (JPN), who leads the 500m and the 1000m junior World Cup rankings, leaves an open playing field with Loginov and China's Chen Wang as main contenders in the short distances.
Open playing field in neo-senior competition
Egor Shkolin (RUS) at the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Without Canada's Béatrice Lamarche and Tyson Langelaar, who both won two gold and two silver medals individually in Poland, the neo-senior medals are up for grabs too. Egor Shkolin (RUS), who tops the Mass Start ranking and comes second in the 1500m ranking, will be one of the main contenders in the men's field. Gloria Malfatti (ITA) and Veronika Suslova (RUS) are the best ranked ladies in the ladies' neo-senior field in Helsinki.