The World Junior Championships return to Canada this week with Calgary as host city for the very first time. All of last year’s champions have moved up to the senior ranks meaning a whole new wave of first time gold medallists will be crowned.
When is it on?
The World Junior Championships begin Wednesday, 1 March with the pairs short programme and concludes Sunday, 5 March with the exhibition gala.
Who is skating?
As has become customary in recent times, Japan will be represented by a strong contingent in the men’s event. This season’s Four Continents victor Kao Miura (JPN) with his best score a hefty margin over the rest of the field making him the presumptive favourite. Nikolaj Memola (ITA) won the Junior Grand Final on home ice in Turin Italy in December with Lucas Broussard (USA) and Nozomu Yoshioka (JPN) finishing in second and third respectively. Wesley Chiu (CAN) will have the advantage of competing in front of a home crowd, while Andreas Nordeback (SWE) and Naoki Rossi could play spoilers for the medals.
The overwhelming favourite in the women’s event also comes from Japan. Mao Shimada (JPN) has swept all before her this season on the Junior stage, including the Junior Grand Prix Final title, and came third at Japanese Senior Nationals in December. Her biggest challenge looks set to come from Jia Shin (KOR) who was second behind her in Turin. Kimmy Repond (SUI) took a surprise bronze medal at the European Championships in January. Ami Nakai (JPN) and Minsol Kwon (KOR) qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final with both missing out on the podium.
Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS) are seeking to upgrade their silver from last year’s pairs event this year after having the Junior Grand Prix Final title under their belts. Sophia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev (USA) topped the Australians in the short programme in Turin, but had to settle for second place in the end. Haruna Murakami and Sumitada Moriguchi (JPN) and Violetta Sierova and Ivan Khobta (UKR) qualified for the Junior Grand Final placing fourth and fifth respectively.
Ice dance appears to be the home nation’s best opportunity to claim gold. Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont (CAN) emerged victorious at the Junior Grand Prix Final and will be hoping to do the same in Calgary. Katerina Mrazkova and Daniel Mrazek (CZE) are the highest scoring team this season. However, the Czechs could only manage third in Turin after making costly mistakes in both the rhythm and free dances. Hannah Lim and Ye Quan (KOR) picked up silver at the same competition. All three other teams who qualified for this season’s Junior Grand Prix final will also participate at this year’s Junior Worlds. They are Phebe Bekker and James Hernandez (GBR), Darya Grimm and Michail Savitskiy (GER) and Celina Fradji and Jean-Hans Fourneaux (FRA).
Everything you need to know (and some things you did not) about the skaters, the competition schedule and results can be viewed here.
When is the skating on?
Afternoon to evening in North America, evening and through the night in Europe and from the early hours of the following morning in Asia. The times listed for Junior Worlds are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Calgary then this link is your friend.
Where can I watch the pretty skaters?
This season’s Junior Worlds can be viewed on the Skating ISU YouTube channel. Geographic restrictions apply.
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