With last week's ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating Final in Baselga di Piné, Italy, under their belt, the junior international speed skating prodigies are ready for their season's climax at the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships at the same track this week. The Netherland's are favorite for all ladies' events, but they face tough Italian and Asian competition. In the men's events Norway and Russia are likely to take home the medal haul.
Italian and Japanese challenges for Dutch ladies
Laura Peveri (ITA) at the ISU Junior World Cup (ITA)2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
At last week's ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating Final, Laura Peveri (ITA) prevented the Dutch ladies' from winning the Junior World Cup classification. The Italian youngster won the third and last Mass Start race of the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating season to surpass Robin Groot (NED) on top of the ranking. Although Groot won the first two Mass Start races, the Dutch ladies did not compete in the final Mass Start, leaving the opportunity for Peveri to finish at the top of the classification.
Robin Groot (NED) at the ISU Junior World Cup (ITA)2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Before the final weekend Groot also led the Junior World Cup rankings in the 1000m and the 1500m. Compatriot Femke Kok won the last race in the 1000m, but Groot secured the Junior World Cup coming second. Pauline Verhaar (NED) took home the 1500m and 3000m Junior World Cup, coming second in the final races of distances. Japan's Rin Kosaka won both the 1500m and the 3000m in Baselga di Piné, to state her candidacy for medals at the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships next week.
Michelle de Jong (NED) at the ISU Junior World Cup (ITA)2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Michelle de Jong (NED), sister of European Allround Champion Antoinette, won the 500m Junior World Cup. After gold medals at the first two Junior World Cups she had to settle for silver behind fellow-Dutch Femke Beuling in Baselga di Piné.
Femke Kok (NED) at the ISU Junior World Cup (ITA)2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
De Jong will only skate the 500m and the 1000m at the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships, whereas Kosaka will only compete in the 1500m, the 3000m and the Mass Start. Femke Kok will compete in all distances, except for the Mass Start, to have a shot at the Allround title. Robin Groot skates the full program, all the Allround distances and the Mass Start. Peveri and sixteen-year-old B-junior Victoria Stirnemann (GER) will also take on all events. Stirnemann, daughter of three-time Olympic Champion and eight-time World Allround Champion Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann, came third in the 1500m Junior World Cup standings.
Competitive field in men's events
Hallgeir Engebråten (NOR) at the ISU Junior World Cup (ITA)2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
In the men's competition Russia dominates the sprint, whereas Norway's Hallgeir Engebråten reigns the longer distances. In both the sprint and the longer distances, the field is competitive. Artem Arefyev (RUS) won the final 500m race and the Junior World Cup in the shortest distance, but he'll find a strong opponent in Koki Kubo (JPN). The Japanese youngster won the 500m at the first Junior World Cup in Poland, skipped the second Junior World Cup and took silver at the Final in Baselga di Piné.
Sergei Loginov (RUS) at the ISU Junior World Cup (ITA)2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Sergei Loginov (RUS) won the 1000m Junior World Cup, but American Austin Kleba took gold at the Junior World Cup Final after not having skated in the first two Junior World Cups. Loginov is one of the big favorites for next week's Allround title. After the 1000m the Russian also won the 1500m in Baselga di Piné, beating Hallgeir Engebråten. The Norwegian did secure the Junior World Cup after having won the two previous races however. Engebråten also took home the 3000m Junior World Cup after having won the first two races, but he had to settle for bronze behind Austrian Gabriel Odor and Italian Francesco Betti.
Single distances and Allround
ISU Junior World Cup (ITA)2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
At the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships (15-17 February) skaters compete for single distance World Junior titles, as well as the World Junior Allround titles. The winners of the Allround combination are the Skaters with the lowest total of points after four distances have been completed. For the men these distances are 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m. For the ladies the Allround classification is made up after the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m.
For full entry lists and further information regarding the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships please visit: isu.org/speed-skating. Entry lists are here and you can follow the discussion on social media by using #WorldJSpeed and #SpeedSkating.
The ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships will be available on the ISU YouTube Channel.