MARCH 10-16, 2014
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Bulgarian Ivo Gatovski qualified for 2014 Junior Worlds
Ivo Gatovski, who turned 16 on January 17, collected enough points after earning silver medal at Dragon Trophy last week-end in Ljubljana and is part now of the Bulgarian team for the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia. He repeated his last season’s success in Ljubljana and was the only skater among six Junior Men, coming there with same mission, to reach the planned target.
“My greatest wish now is to skate clean the short program in front of our own crowd”, said the young Bulgarian, who made his ISU Junior Grand Prix debut this season. It will be also his appearance at Junior Worlds. Ivo Gatovski ‘s qualification was the last unknown in the roster of the host country’s team.
Anna Afonkina will represent Bulgaria in the Junior Ladies. The young Russian is the star of Denkova-Staviski Club, where she works from the very beginning with Andrey Lutay - the famous disciple of Alexei Mishin, and two times Russian vice-champion (2007, 2008). Andrey Lutay got married to Albena Denkova’s sister Ina and leaves in Bulgaria.
There is “Russian Connection” also in the Junior Ice Dance couple, because Slaviana Tsenova has a partner from Ekaterinbourg - Egor Zaitzev. They are coached by Oksana Potdikova - a famous two-time World Junior medalist (silver in 1997 and bronze in 1998) in Ice Dance, competing for Russia with Denis Petukhov. Slaviana and Egor has been a couple for just two years, but they made their debut at the ISU Junior Grand Prix series and the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships still after the first season together. The last season they collected marvelous points, sufficient not only for the event here in Sofia, but also for the senior European Championships.
The two -time U.S. Junior Champion Nathan Chen leads the junior Men team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Sofia. It’s a rare chance for Bulgarian fans to watch probably the last competition of the talented skater at the junior level. Chen said he will move up to the seniorsl next season, icenetwork.com suggests.
A point to note is that Nathan Chen won the 2014 national junior men’s title with a record total of 223.93 points, bettering the 213.76 points Adam Rippon scored in 2008. And namely Adam Rippon, training mate of Chen in Southern California, was the very loved skater here, in Bulgaria, where he won straight junior world titles in 2008 and 2009. Chen’s coach Rafael Arutunian is working also with Rippon and Ashley Wagner. He trained as well the best ever Bulgarian figure skater Ivan Dinev in the past.
Wagner is also well-known in Sofia, while earned the bronze at the 2009 Junior Worlds. We saw now the two-time ladies U.S. champion Ashley Wagner representing the USA Olympic team in the new figure skating event in Sochi.
Chen, who claimed the 2012 U.S. junior crown at age 12, competed at the JGP Final in December in Fukuoka, Japan, where he finished third. He earned gold medals at both JGP events he took part - in Mexico and Belarus. Nathan will contest now the junior world title in the company of his fellow - countrymen - the junior worlds bronze medalist Shotaro Omori, and the junior U.S. vice-champion Jordan Moeller. Jimmy Ma, who is N1 among the alternates for Sofia, battled blade problems and finished third at the last nationals. Ma trains with Elaine Zayak, trying a quad toe loop in practice. Zayak said if Ma will compete at the junior worlds, he will attempt the quad toe in the free skate.
Nathan Chen hopes to follow Adam Rippon's succes in Sofia
Brother of European medalist will dance in Winter Sports Hall in Sofia
Penny Coomes and Nicklas Buckland won the public at European figure skating champions in Budapest last month with their amazing free dance on Michael Jackson’s music that secured them the bronze medal. Now The Buckland family has chance for another good result as the younger brother Joseph is coming to dance at ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia next month.
Joseph and his partner Olivia Smart will participate in the ice dance competition. They have two seventh places at the Junior Gran Prix competitions last fall.
Team GB will be represented also by Graham Newberry in the Junior men competition, National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain and N.I. announced.
Great Great Britain’s Team:
Junior Men: Graham Newberry
Substitutes: Peter Hallam, Charlie Parry-Evans
Junior Ice dance: Olivia Smart/Joseph Buckland
Substitutes: Eleanor Hirst/Jake Fearnley
Skating phenomenon Nam Nguyen comes to Sofia
Canada has historically done very well at the junior world championships with a total of 33 medals, including three men's titles, a women's crown, three pairs gold medals, and one ice dance championship since the inaugural event in 1976. The last acquisition was the silver in Junior Pairs, gained in 2013 Worlds by Margaret Purdy /Michael Marinaro.
The attention at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Sofia is turned actually to Nam Nguyen. The boy made history when at 12, defeated skaters seven years his senior to become the youngest person to win the Canadian junior men’s figure skating title. Now it will be his third participation at Junior Worlds (12th last year). The 15--year-old Toronto skater ranked 5th among the Canadian veterans such as reigning world champion Patrick Chan at the 2014 National senior Championships.
“When he was 8, he competed with 12- and 13-year-olds. Every year he’s stepped into a higher level. He says he wants to enjoy the competition. He wants to entertain people” his mother Thu explains.
Both of Nam Nguyen's parents are from Vietnam. His father, Sony, moved to Canada in 1988 with his wife joining him in 1994. Sony is an engineer, while Thu works for a medical software company.
“He had the X-factor. He is a natural performer. The more people that are watching him, the more he kind of brings it up. He is extremely musical. Some children interpret the music. He is the music” one of his choreographers, Joanne McLeod, said. Nam is coached actually by the famous Brian Orser.
Nam Nguyen got his first taste of the Olympics when he skated at the 2010 Winter Olympics gala in Vancouver. It was the Olympic champion Evan Lysacek who introduced him. By the way Lysacek was warmly applauded in Sofia’s Winter Sports Hall , when he won the silver at the 2001 Junior Worlds. Now is Nam Nguyen‘s turn to charm the Bulgarian public before competing for Canada maybe at the next 2018 Winter Games.
TEAM OF CANADA:
Junior Men: Nam Nguyen, Roman Sadovsky
Substitutes: Mitchell Gordon, Lesley Ip
Junior Ladies: Alaine Chartrand , Julianne Seguin
Substitutes: Larkyn Austman, Madeline Dunley, Julianne Delaurier
Junior Pairs: Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau, Tara Hancherow/Wesley Killing, Mary Orr/, Phelan Simpson
Junior Ice Dance: Madeline Edwards/Zhaokai Pang, Mackenzie Bent/ Garett MacKeen,
Substitutes: Brianna Delmaestro/Timothy Lum, Danielle Wu/Spencer Soo, Carolane Soucisse/Simon Tanguay
From 2013 Junior Worlds to Sochi: 10 skaters made the big jump
The World Junior Figure Skating Championships are major competitions for young skaters. This year Sofia hosts the big ISU event and to explain how important the competition is, let tell that 10 of last year’s participants are already Olympians at the XXII Winter Games in Sochi.
The new big star Yulia Lipnitskaya was silver medalist at the 2013 Junior Worlds in Milan and champion from Minsk the previous year. Right now Yulia is the new sensation and the entire world admires her. The 15-year old girl suddenly became even more googled that the phenomenal Evgeni Plushenko.
Another bright star rose at the last Junior Worlds: the attractive American Jason Brown. Like Lipnitskaya, Brown then won silver and now charms figure skating fans in Sochi with his amazing Riverdance program.
And how curious is Michael Christian Martinez story! He is the first skater from Southeast Asia to qualify for the Olympics and the only athlete representing the Philippines at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Recently he explained that he has learned to skate at shopping mall rink. His family mortgaged their home to pay for his Olympic participation.
Competing in Sochi are also Gabrielle Daleman (Canada, 6th at Milan last year), Nathalie Weinzierl (Germnay, 10th), Broklee Han (Australia, 16th), Nicole Rajicova (Slovakia, 30th) and Julia Lavrentieva/ Yuri Rudyk (Ice Dance, Ukraine, 14th).
Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin, coached by Chinese idol, are Pair’s favourite in Sofia
With the 2013 Junior Pair worlds champions Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) competing already at seniors level, Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin from China are strong title contenders in Sofia. The Chinese pair claimed the gold in December at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Fukuoka, dominating all other five rivals from Russia. Yu/Jin was the only to have taken gold in two 2013 ISU JGP events (Latvia and Estonia).
2012 World Junior bronze medalist,the Chinese pair finished 4th last year in Milan and this is one more reason to aim now finish in triumph their shining season in Sofia, maybe the last at junior level.
Yu/Jin teamed up in 2009, inspired by the great performances of famous Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao, who claimed the country's first Olympic gold medal in figure skating at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, breaking almost half a century of Russian and Soviet pair skating dominance. Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao were 2002 & 2006 Olympic bronze medalists and three-time (2002, 2003 & 2007) World champions.
The young pair Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin, whom we will see in Sofia, has the chance to be coached by their idol Hongbo Zhao since the last season. He was appointed end of May to train the national team's pairs skaters and lead them to the Sochi Olympics. Unfortunately veterans Pang Qing and Tong Jian didn’t endure the strong challenge from the Russian and German skaters .They finished 4th in Sochi after have been skating together for over 20 years, winning world championships in 2006 and 2010 and silver c medal at Vancouver Olympics. Sochi was the last start in their skating career, so they announced the wedding bells will ring soon for a pair of lovers Pang and Tong also are.
With his rich experience and knowledge Hongbo Zhao has the task to discover and lead youth talents for the Chinese pair’s team.
World Champion and Olympic medalist Anjelika Krylova will shine in Winter Sports Hall
Two-time World Champion (1998, 1999) and 1998 Olympic silver medalist in ice dance Anjelieka Krylova will shine in Winter Sports Hall in Sofia next month. One of the most beautiful skaters ever is now respectable coach and choreographer. Krylova and her husband Pasquale Camerlengo work with Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje, competing actually in Sochi Olympics.
The next destination for Anjelika is Sofia, where she will help the U.S. number one junior ice dance couple Kaitlin Hawayek / Jean-Luc Baker.
Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov were one of the best ice dancers in the second half of the 90’s. They have numerous medals and amazed the world with their unforgettable Carmen program.
After bear the flag in Sochi, Michael Martinez returns to the juniors
Michael Christian Martinez, who participated in the Sochi Olympics, is coming to Sofia for 2014ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Days ago the Philippines skater finished 19th among the men at the Winter Games and impressed with his performances.
Martinez is the first skater from Southeast Asia and figure skater from the tropical zone to qualify for the Olympics and the only athlete to represent the Philippines at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
His personal story was revealed by media during the Games and the fact that his family had mortgaged their home to finance his Olympic participation, amazed the world.
Michael Christian Martinez was the only one Philippine athlete in Sochi as well as country’s flag bearer. Last year he finished fifth at the Junior Worlds in Milan.
Brothers make Figure Skating history for Malaysia
Sofia hosts ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships for 4th time, following 2001, 2008 and 2009, but the Bulgarian public will have a first opportunity to see a Malaysian figure skater on the ice in the Winter Sports Hall. A year ago Julian Yee Zhi-Jie became first Malaysian to obtain the qualifying marks for World Junior Championships, held in Milano, where finished at 34th place. The previous season he has participated in the Preliminary Round (20th place), before the ISU congress decision in summer 2012 to withdraw the preliminary rounds. But the first skater to represent Malaysia at an ISU Championship was Yee's brother Ryan Zhi Jwen (two years older) at the 2011 World Junior Championships.
There are some curious facts in the Julian Yee Zhi-Jie’s bio. One of them is that in 2011 he became the youngest to win the Malaysia National Figure Skating Championship Junior Category (Male) at age 13 years 10 months, breaking the previous record held by his brother Ryan Yee Zhi-Jwen, and reserving his place in the Malaysia Book of Records.
Julian Yee was involved to skating at age four by his mother, together with his brothers Ryan and Ian.
The older Ryan Zhi Jwen Yee was the first Malaysian to compete in the ISU Junior Grand Prix - in Corchevel 2010. But more recently Julian became the first Malaysian to qualify for and made all the way to the Finals in the ISU Four Continents 2014 held in Taipei City in January 2014, where ranked 23t.
Cap it all Julian Yee Zhi-Jie Yee is also a member of the National Short Track team.