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2020 World Junior Championships

Men's Free Skate

 by Klaus Reinhold Kany


(8 March 2020)   The free program of the 24 men at the Junior World Championships in Tallinn had a mixed level. Like in other men’s competitions many planned quad jumps ended with a fall. 14 men tried a quad in the free program, but less than half of them landed them in a clean way.

The new Junior World Champion is nearly 17-year-old Andrei Mozalev from Russia, student of Kirill Davydenko in St. Petersburg,earning 245.09 points. He opened his free program with a combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop, not ideal, but landing on one foot. The second quad toe loop was very good, the triple loop good and both triple Axels shaky. Later a sequence of triple Lutz, Euler and triple Salchow was very good as well as a triple flip. His components had an average of 7.9.

He commented: “The performance was not the best, there were mistakes on the triple Axel and the quads were not perfect. I like Nathan Chen and his calmness and his focus, the way he skates and jumps. He sets the example for me. This was not the end of the season, there is still a local competition in Russia, the Spartakiade, end of March. After the end of the season, we’ll work on the spins, skating skills and obviously on the quads. I think my junior life has ended and it is time to start the senior life.”

Yuma Kagiyama from Japan, 16-year-old son of a figure skater who participated in the Olympic Games of 1992 and 1994 and now is his coach, won the silver medal with 231.75 points. He fell on the opening quad toe loop which was under-rotated. The triple loop and the second quad toe loop in combination with a double toe loop were convincing, the triple Axel under-rotated and three more triples clean. But near the end he singled an Axel. His components were around 7.8.

Later he said, ”In the six minutes warm-up I felt like my body and my mind were not connected. I was a bit nervous and that affected my performance and caused the mistakes. I was confident about my quad toe all season and when I missed the first one, I held back a little. But I was happy that I recomposed and landed the second quad toe and did the combination. I don’t know if it was the ideal performance, but I was motivated by Yuzuru Hanyu’s short program at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. It was his first Olympic Games and he was probably nervous, but he performed calmly and did all his jumps and spins. I am planning to move up to the senior level. My father has a lot of experience and he passes it on to me. He talks to me about how he competed.”

Petr Gumennik from St. Petersburg in Russia won the bronze medal with 231.12 points and the second best free in spite of being only ninth in the short program. Skating to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera”, he opened his program with a good quad Salchow with double toe loop. His triple Axel had no good flow after the landing and his second quad Salchow was under-rotated. Five more triple jumps were very good, among them a sequence of triple Lutz, triple loop and double loop. The triple flip near the end was wobbly. His components were around 7.5. ”I didn’t think about the podium and I am glad to skate almost clean,” he said. “My training and my warm-up did not go so well, but in the performance, I managed the jumps and I am pleased with how I fought through it.”

Daniel Grassl from Italy finished fourth with 229.38 points. He was the only skater to land a quad Lutz and a quad flip, but both jumps were under-rotated. Seven triple jumps were good, but the Axel also under-rotated.

18-year-old Maxim Naumov of Boston was the best of the three U.S. skaters and moved up from tenth to fifth place with 225.10 points. He had no quad, but performed a clean program with eight triples, among them two good Axels. Andrew Torgashev of Colorado Springs dropped from third to eighth position with 208.95 points after falling on the two under-rotated quad toe loops and also on the triple Lutz and on the triple loop. Five triples were good, however, and his step sequence excellent. He and Naumov guaranteed the USA three spots for next year’s Junior Worlds, which is planned in Harbin, China, at the moment. 15-year-old Ilia Malinin of Reston, Virginia placed 16th with 195.97 points after a free program with six good and one under-rotated triples. He performed three triple Lutzes, which is one more than allowed. Therefore the third Lutz got no points.

Shun Sato from Japan finished sixth with 221.62 points, Adam Siao Him Fa from France and student of Brian Joubert seventh with 213.89 points.