by Klaus Reinhold Kany
(5 March 2020) The short program of the 35 men at the ISU Junior World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia had a good level. Many skaters performed clean programs with a triple Axel and a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. Quad jumps are not allowed in Junior short programs, therefore the chance of making mistakes is smaller than in senior short programs. 24 skaters qualified for the free program.
Yuma Kagiyama from Japan, who had won a bronze medal at the (senior) Four Continents Championships in South Korea two weeks before, took the lead with 85.82 points. Skating to the Piano Concerto "Fate“ (from "Soho Crime“) by Akira Senju, he opened his program with an excellent required triple loop, followed by an outstanding triple Axel which was rewarded with one GOE of +5 and six GOEs of +4. His triple Lutz, the first part of his jump combination, got a small edge warning, but the toe loop which came next, was good. The three spins and the step sequence were excellent as well. His components had an average of 7.8.
He commented: ”I was very relaxed today. I was a little bit concerned about my triple Axel, but my practice has been going quite well so I was able to do it with confidence. As for the Lutz-toe combination, it was a bit shaky on the first jump, but I was able to recompose myself after the first jump and I was able to continue with the second one. I regret not being able to get the level I was hoping for in the step sequence.”
Andrei Mozalev from Russia sits on a close second place with 84.31 points. He also had mainly GOEs of +3 for the same elements as Kagiyama, but a bit lower components to the music of a rock opera. “I am basically pleased with my performance”, he said. ”Obviously, there were some little issues, I’ll work on them and try not to repeat these mistakes in the free skating.”
Andrew Torgashev of Colorado Springs is third with 81.50 points and the best of the three Americans, all of whom are sons of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who were competitive skaters themselves. His mother Ilona Melnichenko was a successful ice dancer and Junior World champion in 1987. His father Artem Torgashev was a silver medalist at the Junior World Championships 1987 in pair skating. Andrew‘s triple Axel was good, his combination of triple flip and triple toe loop very good. His step sequence was an absolute highlight and had one GOE of +5 and five GOEs of +4. His components had an average of 7.7.
He explained: ”I’ve been training very hard for this competition. I was very happy that I was able to skate a program that I’ve been training. I didn’t finish all my spins all the way where I lost a few points. However, I felt very confident with the jumps.”
Aleksandr Selevko from Estonia is currently on fourth place with 80.87 points. He performed the same clean elements as the winner, but had lower GOEs and components of around 7.6. The second Japanese skater Shun Sato placed fifth, earning 79.30 points. One spin was a bit shaky, but everything else was at least good. Daniel Grassl from Italy, third last year, is on sixth position with 78.91 points. His innovative spins were remarkable, otherwise the elements were the same the top skaters performed.
Ilya Yablokov from Russia finished seventh with 77.53 points. All elements were clean, but the combination not ideal. Joseph Phan’s best elements were the spins, and the skater from Canada also made no mistakes on the same jumps as the winner, but their quality was lower and he is on eighth place with 77.50 points. Petr Gummenik from Russia, ninth with 76.09 points, stepped out of the triple Axel and touched with his hand on this jump. But the rest pf the program was convincing.
The other two Americans finished a bit lower. Maxim Naumov of Boston, 18-year-old son of the 1994 pair skating world champions Evgenia Shishkova & Vadim Naumov, is tenth with 75.20 points. His triple Axel was relatively clean, his combination of triple flip and triple toe loop soso and his required triple loop good. Two spins and the step sequence were excellent.
Ilya Malinin of Reston, Virginia, the 15-year-old son of Uzbekistan single skaters Tatiana Malinina (winner of a Grand Prix Final and 4th at Worlds 1999) and Roman Skorniakov, sits on 13th place with 74.02 points. His triple Axel was very good, his combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop (with two hands over his head) good and his triple loop a bit shaky. His components were around 6.6. Stephen Gogolev from Canada is only 18th with 67.27 points because he popped the Axel which was planned triple. The other elements were good, the step sequence excellent.