Latvia played host to the third part of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating where four categories were contested in its capital Riga.
Japan had not won any golds in either Brisbane or Salzburg and expectations were highest on its ladies to deliver victory. So it was something of a surprise that Mitsuki Sumoto rallied after fourth in the short programme to win the men’s title in Riga. He became the first Japanese man since Sota Yamamoto in 2015 to win a Junior Grand Prix title. Makar Ignatov from Russia and Tomoki Hiwatashi from the United States took silver and bronze respectively.
For the third week in a row, a student of Eteri Tutberidze representing Russia won the ladies crown. Daria Panenkova stood in first after the short, but a fall on a triple loop marred an otherwise solid free skate. Despite coming unstuck on a triple Axel, Rika Kihira from Japan placed first in the free and moved up from sixth after the short to claim silver. Emmy Ma from the United States took bronze.
The first of four Junior Grand Prix pairs titles this season was won by Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov from Russia who finished second in both segments of the event, but still managed to come out on top and win their first international competition together. World Junior silver medallists Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozslovkii from Russia had to settle for second place again. Canada’s Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud bagged their first Junior Grand Prix medal by winning bronze. World Junior champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor from Australia came a disappointing fourth.
The ice dance event saw two Russian teams battle it out for gold. After starting the free dance in second, Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko took their first Junior Grand Prix title by defeating Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov. Caroline Green and Gordon Green, who were skating in their first overseas competition, won bronze.
The next Junior Grand Prix will take place in Minsk, Belarus starting on 20 September.