ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009
The 2009 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships will open in Sofia, Bulgaria, on February 24. The World Junior Figure Skating Championships exist since 1978. In 1976 and 1977, the ISU held “Junior Figure Skating Championships”. Sofia has hosted ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships before in 2001 and 2008.
208 skaters from 50 ISU members have been entered for the Championships, which is a new record number of entries. No Qualifying Rounds will be skated. All skaters/couples will compete in the Short Program/Compulsory/Original Dance, and the top 24 (20 in Pairs) will proceed to the Free Skating.
Overview over the top contenders
The Men’s event promises a tough battle between several strong contenders. 2008 World Junior Champion Adam Rippon (USA) is back to defend his title. The American comes with a seasons best of 207.93 points from the Cup of Russia to Sofia. The strongest challenge should come from Florent Amodio (FRA) and Michal Brezina (CZE). Amodio won the SBS ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in December, where he posted his seasons best of 199.58 points. Brezina took the gold medal in two Junior Grand Prix events earlier this season and then came in 10th at the 2009 European Figure Skating Championships (seasons best 192.48 points). Kevin Reynolds (CAN) will compete in his fourth consecutive ISU Junior World Championships and after finishing 7th, 5th and 6th in the past three years would like step on to the podium this time. With a seasons best of 204.89 points, this seems possible. However, these four top contenders also should watch out for strong competitors such as Denis Ten (KAZ/seasons best 188.07 points), Elladj Baldé (CAN/seasons best 184.89) and Chao Yang (CHN/sesaons best 183.47 points).
2007 World Junior Champion and 2008 World Junior silver medallist Caroline Zhang (USA) headlines the Ladies field and is aiming for her third consecutive medal in the event. Zhang scored a seasons best of 171.22 points at the Four Continents Championships earlier this month. Ashley Wagner (USA), the 2007 World Junior bronze medallist, comes back to Junior Worlds after not competing in the event in 2008. She has a seasons best of 161.10 points from the NHK Trophy in December. Another member of the traditionally strong American team is Katrina Hacker (seasons best 139.46 points). The U.S. Ladies swept the podium in 2007 and 2008, but some other contenders would like to end the successful streak. Alena Leonova (RUS) comes fresh from a strong debut at the European Championships, where she was ranked 4th . She achieved a seasons best of 145.93 points earlier this season at the Cup of Russia. Japan sends their new Junior Champion Haruka Imai (seasons best 145.00 points). Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO) wants to improve on her disappointing finish from the European Championships (seasons best 121.78 points). Other two watch include Oksana Gozeva (RUS/seasons best 142.24 points), Diane Szmiett (CAN/seasons best 131.46 points), Sarah Hecken (GER/seasons best 127.14 points) and Ivana Reitmayerova (SVK/seasons best 130.20 points). Singapore is represented for the first time at an ISU Championship with Anja Chong.
Reigning World Junior silver medallists and Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Lubov Iliushechkina/Nodari Maisuradze (RUS) are aiming to take home the top prize from Sofia. The Muscovites also finished fifth in their debut at the European Championships in January and travel with a seasons best of 153.43 points to Bulgaria. Iliushechkina/Maisuradze will be challenged by their teammates Anastasia Martiusheva/Alexei Rogonov (RUS/seasons best 151.10 points) and Junior Grand Prix Final silver medallists Yue Zhang/Lei Wang (CHN/seasons best 142.10 points). Other contenders include Ekaterina Sheremetieva/Mikhail Kuznetsov (RUS/seasons best 131.94 points), Narumi Takahashi/Mervin Tran (JPN/sesaons best 131.10 points), Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA/seasons best 128.39 points) and Maria Sergejeva/Ilja Glebov (EST/seasons best 127.70 points).
The ice dance podium will consist of newcomers as no defending or former World Junior medallists are competing this time. Only couples from Russia and the USA have won the title since 1995, with one exception when Canadians Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir took the gold in 2006. Couples from Russia (the Soviet Union) dominated from 1978 to 1995. The top contenders 2009 come yet again from the USA and Russia: Madison Chock/Greg Zuerlein (USA) won the SBS ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final this season and are headed with a seasons best of 168.08 points to their first Junior World Championship. Their teammates Madison Hubbell/Keiffer Hubbell will compete in their third Junior Worlds. They captured the silver medal at the Junior Final and have a seasons best of 167.56 points. Ekaterina Riazanova/Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS) posted a seasons best of 167.80 points in the Junior Grand Prix Series and earned the bronze medal at the Junior Grand Prix Final in December. Other to watch are Alisa Agafonova/Dmitri Dun (UKR/seasons best 153.83 points), Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA/seasons best 163.56 points), Karen Routhier/Eric Saucke-Lacelle (CAN/seasons best 152.29 points), Terra Findlay/Benoit Richaud (FRA/seasons best 150.14 points) and Ekaterina Pushkash/Dmitri Kiselev (RUS/seasons best 151.42 points).
Please note that for the seasonal best total scores only the ISU Championships and Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior) have been taken into consideration, not other international competitions or National Championships.
Prize money and World Standings Bonus
The ISU awards a global prize money of US$ 200,000 at the World Junior Championships to skaters/ couples placed 1st to 12th. The prize money is awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples as follows:
Men and Ladies
1st place US$ 10,000
2nd place US$ 7,000
3rd place US$ 5,000
4th place US$ 3,500
5th place US$ 2,750
6th place US$ 2,500
7th place US$ 2,250
8th place US$ 2,000
9th place US$ 1,750
10th place US$ 1,500
11th place US$ 1,250
12th place US$ 1,000
By competing in the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships the athletes earn points towards the World Standings as well. The three skaters/couples per discipline having earned most World Standing points during the 2008/2009 season will be awarded with the World Standing Bonus. The following amounts will be awarded to the concerned skaters/couples:
Ladies & Men
1st: US$ 45,000
2nd: US$ 27,000
3rd: US$ 18,000
The schedule of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009 is as follows:
Tuesday, February 24: Compulsory Dance, Pairs Short Program
Wednesday, February 25: Men Short Program, Pairs Free Skating
Thursday, February 26: Original Dance, Men Free Skating
Friday, February 27: Ladies Short Program, Free Dance
Saturday, February 28: Ladies Free Skating
Sunday, March 1: Exhibition Gala
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Keywords · 2009 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships · Sofia · Bulgaria
Name: Devra Pitt-getaz
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