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Second Half of Junior Grand Prix Starts in Tallinn

 by Klaus-Reinhold Kany






(29 September 2014)  The fifth Junior Grand Prix of this season took place in the brand-new Tondiraba Arena in Estonia’s capital of Tallinn, which was opened only in August 2014. It was also a test for Junior Worlds which will be held in the same rink in March 2015. Head manager of the new rink is Elena Glebova (26) who had quit from her competitive career a few months ago and returned from Hackensack, New Jersey to Estonia. Russia was the most successful country in Tallinn, winning seven of the 12 medals.

In the men’s competition, Alexander Petrov from St. Petersburg, Russia won with 208.37 points after being second in the Junior Grand Prix in Ljubljana/Slovenia four weeks earlier and therefore is in the Junior Final. The student of Alexei Mishin is only 15 years old, but landed already triple axels in both of his programs, plus most other triple jumps. Sota Yamamoto from Japan is second with 202.70 points, mainly because of his good style. He fell on the (downgraded) triple axel in the short and singled it in the long program. The bronze medal went to He Zhang from China (193.34 points) who did not try any triple axel, but in the long program he landed a clean and high quad toeloop. Deniss Vasiljevs from Latvia trains mainly in France and is highly talented especially for interpretation. He is only fourth, earning 181.42 points, because he missed the triple lutz in the short program and fell on the triple axel in the long.

13-year-old U.S.skater Andrew Torgashev from Coral Springs, Florida, finished in fifth position. His skating skills and his deep edges are outstanding for a boy of his age, but his jump abilities are just good (triple lutz ok, but not yet a triple axel). In the long program, three of his triple jumps were successful but he missed others. The second American Spencer Howe of Burbank, California is twelfth after missing his triple toeloop combination in the short program and failing two triples in the long program. But four of his triples jumps in the long program were ok.

Miyu Nakashio (17) from Japan in the ladies competition was the only non-Russian winner (160.64 points). Her combination of two triple toeloops in the short program was clean. But she took off from the wrong edge on the required lutz which therefore counted only 70 per cent and as it was shaky got mainly -2 from the judges. Her long program was good with seven triple jumps and an excellent step sequence. Maria Sotskova from the area around Moscow is second with 159.67 points. She had won the Junior Final last year, but could not compete at Junior Worlds due to an injury. She missed her combination in the short and two jumps in the long program were underrotated, but four others good. Bronze medalist Alsu Kaiumova, also from Moscow doubled her lutz in the short, but landed six triple jumps in the free program. 14-year-old Amber Glenn of McKinney, Texas, finished in sixth position (142.83 points) and therefore did not reach the Junior Final, which had been her goal after being third in her first Junior Grand Prix in France. She stepped out of the triple toeloop after the triple flip in the short program, singled her axel and her triple lutz was underrotated. In the long, only three of her triple jumps were good.

In the pairs competition, all three medals went to Russian teams. Maria Vigalova and Egor Zakroev from Perm, third at Junior Worlds 2014, impressed especially by their triple throws and the triple twists. Therefore the student of the relatively unknown coaching couple of Valentina Tiukova and Valeri Tiukov won with 161.83 points even if they did not have a triple side-by-side jump in their programs. Their interpretation of the “Phantom of the Opera” was convincing. The silver medal winners Kamilla Gainetdinova (17 years old on October 12) and Sergei Alexeev (19), students of Stanislav Morozov in Moscow, have been skating together only for a few months, but had other partners before. They had problems with their individual jumps, but the other elements were nearly clean. Anastasia Gubanova and Alexei Sintsov, like the winners from Perm, performed good throws, but also had problems with the individual jumps. Olivia Allan and Austin Hale of Fort Wayne, Texas, were the better of the two U.S. teams and finished eighth with 117.23 points. They did not fall in any of their programs, but had no triple elements at all and a few double ones in the short were a bit shaky. Their most difficult element was a sequence of two double axels. The second Americans Jessica Lee and Robert Hennings of Lakewood, California, ended up on eleventh and last place (95.25 points). They did not try any triple elements in the short program either, and their throw loop was only single. In the free program, Lee fell on the throw toeloop, the only element they tried triple. Most other elements were ok, but they got an edge deduction on the double lutz and missed the spin.

Anna Yanovskaya and Sergey Mozgov from Russia won the ice dance event clearly which was their first Junior Grand Prix of this season. The students of Svetlana Alexeeva and her daughter Elena Kustarova, second at Junior Worlds half a year ago, earned 152.00 points. In the short dance they were only second in spite of the highest components because their Silver Samba parts had only level 2 and 1. But in their free dance to Argentine Tangos they had excellent levels. Mackenzie Bent and Garrett MacKeen from the dance school of Carol Lane in Scarborough in Canada won silver after gaining two level 4 in the samba parts of the short dance – which is really rare this season. But their presentation especially in the free dance was a bit weaker and they had 144.51 points. After winning the Junior Grand Prix in Ostrava three weeks earlier, they nevertheless reached the Junior Final in Barcelona. Alexandra Nazarova and Maxim Nikitin from the Ukraine were only sixth in the short dance because he missed the twizzles. But they could move up to third place after a very good free dance.

The two new U.S. couples of Igor Shpilband finished on fourth and sixth place. Christina Carreira (14), who is Canadian, and Anthony Ponomarenko, the 13-year-old son of the Olympic dance champions Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, are fourth with 127.60 points. They have being skating together only a few months, but had good levels in both programs. They danced to the French soundtrack of “Les MicMac” in their free dance. Holly Moore (18) and Daniel Klaber (20), who had left Pasquale Camerlengo in springtime and went to Igor Shpilband, ended up on sixth position (126.95 points). Their levels were lower, but their elements especially in the free dance to “Addams Family” were excellently executed.