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2020 World Junior Championships

Pairs Short Program

by Klaus Reinhold Kany

(5 March 2020)  The short program of the 16 pairs at the Junior World Championships in Tallinn had a good level because there were many faultless programs. After the short program, small medals are always awarded for the best three skaters or teams. As expected, there was a medal sweep for the three Russian pairs because they were superior to the rest of the field.>

Apollinariia Panfilova & Dmitry Rylov from the city of Perm took the lead with 73.71 points. They skated to the soundtrack of “Matrix“. Their triple twist with level 4 was outstanding and was rewarded with eight GOEs of +5 and one of +4. Their lift was excellent as well, their side by side double Axel and the triple throw flip very good (side by side triple jumps are not allowed in Junior pairs short programs). The other elements were also flawless and their components around 7.7. Panfilova said: “I’d say our performance was 80 percent. We didn’t get the level on the death spiral that we wanted, but overall it was quite good. We are our main competitors.“>

Ksenia Akhanteva & Valerii Kolesov from the St. Petersburg school of the Velikovs performed to the soundtrack of “Interstellar“ and are currently second with 70.44 points. They had the same elements as the winners, also in very good, but not outstanding quality, and had GOEs of mainly +3. Their lift and the death spiral were even a bit stronger than those of the winners, but their components had an average of only 7.3. Kolesov explained: “We are pleased with our performance, it was not bad, but it wasn’t our best either. This competition is not different from a Junior Grand Prix, just there are a lot of couples from many countries.“

Iuliia Artemeva & Mikhail Nazarychev are from Perm like the leaders and sit third, earning 70.26 points. Their best element was the side by side double Axel. Five other elements were very good as well, only the triple throw flip was not a hundred per cent clean. Their components were around 7.4. Nazarychev commented: “The short program was not ideal, there were some mistakes. In the free skating, we need to skate clean and show our maximum.“

Annika Hocke & Robert Kunkel from Germany are on fourth position with 63.57 points. From competition to competition they are improving in their first season they compete together. But Hocke had skated in the Olympic Games of 2018 with her former partner Ruben Blommaert. Their best element was the triple throw flip with mainly GOEs of +3. His double Axel was not perfect, but everything else good and their components were around 7.0. Hocke said: “We are very happy about our personal best today, but when we will compete in the senior World Championships in two weeks, we would like a few more points because we can perform a bit better than today.“

Kate Finster & Balazs Nagy of Colorado Springs are the best of the three U.S. pairs and currently on fifth position with 58.33 points. The students of Dalilah Sappenfield opened their program to “Hallelujah“ by Jeff Buckley with a very good triple twist, but then Finster stepped out of the double Axel. The triple throw toe loop was a bit shaky, but the other elements good. Winter Deardorff & Mikhail Johnson, also coached by Dalilah Sappenfield, are currently on tenth place with 53.77 points. Their triple throw flip was a bit shaky, the other elements relatively clean, but the levels relatively low. The third U.S. pair Anastasiia Smirnova & Danylo Siianytsia of Shakopee, Michigan, is eleventh, winning 51.19 points. Smirnova fell on the triple throw toe loop and their feet touched each other during the step sequence. The other elements were clean, but their side by side jump was only a double loop, which is allowed but a bit easy.

The French pair of Cleo Hamon & Denys Strekalin, who were ninth at the (senior) European Championships in January in Austria, are currently on sixth place with 58.23 points. They sometimes train in Florida with Silvia Fontana and John Zimmerman. Hamon fell on the triple throw flip, but the six other elements were clean, the step sequence and the lift even very good. The Georgian pair of Alina Butaeva & Luka Berulava are on seventh position with 55.96 points. Their triple twist and their double Axel were very good, but the death spiral not according to the rules and therefore did not count.

The two Chinese pairs are on eighth and ninth position. Yuchen Wang & Yihang Huang are eighth with 54.09 points, but their marks were a bit too high, especially the components, because they were a bit stiff and he did not skate in an elegant way. Huidi Wang & Ziqi Jia won 54.08 points, one hundredth points less, but their presentation was better.