MARCH 10-16, 2014
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Sofia welcomes 182 skaters from 45 countries
The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2014 will be held in Sofia at the Winter Sports Hall from 10th till 16th March. Bulgarian capital welcomes 182 skaters from 45 countries.  This is the fourth time that the country organizes the event following 2001, 2008 and 2009.

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships is under the high patronage of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Prof. Mariana Georgieva. Honorary Member of the Organizing Committee is Stefka Kostadinova, President of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee.

The Bulgarian Skating Federation and the Organizing Committee of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in the person of Tatyana Yordanova (Chairman), Biljana Pironkova (Competition Director), Hristo Turlakov (Event Coordinator) and Ani Dontcheva (Press Officer) gave an official press conference.
The Bulgarian Skating Federation certainly has great experience in hosting of the ISU big Championships. Real challenge for the Organizing Committee this time are undoubtedly the bad conditions in the main venue, the Winter Sports Hall.
"For 30 years the Winter Palace has not being renovated. We don’t have enough light on the ice-rink. And for the present we count only on the money granted by the International Skating Union. But I hope we could manage and organize a successful event”, said Mrs. Yordanova, who was one of the ISU Judged at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

“Currently, our federation works to bring the facility to look presentable. These are normal difficulties. Now we install additional lamps. We hope to be flawless till March 9th", stated Mrs. Pironkova .

“Other problem is to attract local sponsors, who do not get anything in supporting of sports events. It is difficult to allocate resources. Our sport is beautiful and even is not so popular like some others, has a future. I hope things will change ", Mr. Turlakov said. He is known also as a longtime national competitor in the past.

According a decision of the ISU congress in summer 2012, no preliminary rounds are skated, but participants need to have achieved a total element minimum score for both Short and Free Program. All skaters compete in the Short Program/Short Dance and the top 24 single skaters, top 16 Pairs and top 20 Ice Dance teams proceed to the Free Skating/Free Dance.

Bulgaria will be represented by Anna Afonkina, Ivo Gatovski and dance team Slavyana Tsenova/Egor Zaytsev.
Gatovski and Tsenova / Zaitsev in good shape before the Junior Worlds
Ivo Gatovki and  the ice dance team Slaviana Tsenova / Egor Zaitsev showed good shape few days only before the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia. They took part at “Victoria Prize”, 3rd round of the National Championships in the Winter Sports Hall.

Ivo Gatovski was again the best one at senior level and won the title. He collected 139.45 total score, that is much better than his 120.81 less a month ago when he earned the qualification for the Junior Worlds. Gatovski struggled with ankle injury, but now he feels much better and it was obvious in his steady Free skating with five triple jumps. He did two of them very cleanly.

The young ice dance team Slaviana Tsenova and Egor Zaitsev were the lone couple on the ice in the category.  They were more stable and confident after Egor’s comeback mid January, following heath problems and after missing two mounts of training.

Anna Afonkina, who will represent Bulgaria at the Junior Worlds, didn’t participate in the last two rounds of the National Championships. But all of them - Afonkina, Gatovski, Tsenova / Zaitsev aime to skate clean Short and if possible reach the final.
Skating sensation Nam Nguyen from Sofia goes to the Worlds in Japan
Canadian figure skater Nam Nguyen has a busy month. The skating phenomenon takes part first at the forthcoming ISU Junior Wolds in Sofia from 10th to 16th March in Sofia. After  Nguyen will go to Saitama (Japan) as part of the team of Canada at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships end of month.

The 15-year-old Nam Nguyen from Toronto get this chance after Canada’s great star Patrick Chan, three-time defending world champion, decided to skip the Worlds, announced Canadian press. The 23-year-old Chan takes rest after he was upset by 18-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu at the Sochi  Olympics and won  the silver.  

Nguyen Nam works with Brian Orser - coach of Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu and European champion Javier Fernandes. The 15-year-old figure skater is age eligible to participate also in ISU seniors Championships.
Ukraine is waiting for new Petrenko, Zagorodnjuk, Dmitrenko
Ivan Pavlov was the last skater to earn his place in the team of Ukraine for the 2014 ISU Junior Worlds in Sofia. The 15-year-old boy overcame his fellow countryman Yaroslav Paniot and Igor Reznichenko in the last control test.
“I am so glad of his performance in both - Short and Free Skating”, his coach Marina Amirkhanova, said. “He did everything faultlessness. Of course maybe at times he could skate better. But he made all his jumps and combinations he mastered this season, and really deserved his trip to Sofia.”
“And we don’t need to tell stories about mythical quadruples, we are just doing things we are able”, adds Marina Amirkhanova.

At his ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships debut in Milan last year Ivan Pavlov qualified for the free skate and finished 20th. “His Short Program is already much more complicated with cascade 3 + 3. And if the last year Ivan was uncertain in its execution, now the 15-year-old boy has this weapon too”, Marina Amirkhanova said.

The inevitable question is if there is somebody, and why not probably Ivan Pavlov, to follow the great single men Ukrainian born skaters as Viacheslav Zagorodnjuk, Dmitri Dmitrenko, Victor Petrenko?
“Why make all this comparisons? Those achievements of our stars are in the remote past and now everything changes and goes forward. Today’s generation faces new challenges.  So, Ivan Pavlov  is writing his own history”, the coach commented.

The team of Ukraine includes also Anna Khnychenkova and the ice-dance couple Alexandra Nazarova / Maxim Nikitin.
Canadian Julianne Seguin competes in both singles and pairs at the
Junior Worlds

Canadian Julianne Seguin will be one of the most interesting skaters at the 2014 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia next week. The 16-years old will compete both in singles junior ladies and junior pairs.

As a single skater Julianne Seguin has 6th and 9th place in ISU Junior Gran Prix series this season and she finished 11th at Four Continents. Since November 2012 Jshe made team also with new partner - the 20-year- old  Charlie Bilodeau. The pair debuted at the ISU JGP with two fourth places.
Defending champions Stepanova/ Bukin withdraw from Ice Dance competition
Defending junior ice-dance champions Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) have withdrawn from the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships next week in Sofia due to illness. It is bad news for Bulgarian fans, eager to see the son of the legend Andrei Bukin, 1988 Olympic Champion, 1984 Olympic silver medalist and four-time World champion in ice dance with Natalia Bestemianova.

The Russian champions are replaced by Evgenia Kosigina/Nikolai Moroshkin.
Reigning ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anna Yanovskaya/ Sergey Mozgov (RUS), as well as the Final silver medalists Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean Luc Baker (USA) and the bronze owners in Fukuoka Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA) are among the main contenders at the Junior Worlds in Sofia.

Recovered from injury, Elena Radionova will defend her title
Russian Elena Radionova will defend her world junior figure skating title next week in Sofia. Initially she was included as substitute in the team of Russia because of injury. That was the reason Elena didn’t participate at the Russian Nationals Championships in January. She is now coming back and more confident after she was invited to skate in the gala at Sochi Olympics.

The 15-year-old Radionova won two medals this season at the ISU Grand Prix (bronze in Detroit and silver in Tokyo). She ranked 4th at the senior GP Final behind Mao Asada (JPN), Julia Lipnitskaya (RUS) and Ashley Wagner (USA).

Media show interest for the ISU Junior Worlds in Sofia
About 40 writers, photographers, reporters, cameramen, representing 27 media, will cover the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, March 10-16, in the Winter Sports Hall.
The event enjoys great interest by the Japanese journalists, delegating here seven members of the press from seven media, including Kyodo News Agency.
Separately crew of Fuji Television, ISU official partner, will work at the 2014 ISU Junior Worlds.
Media from Philippines are in pursuit of their star, the Sochi Olympian Michael Christian Martinez, on the Balkan Peninsula too, and also arrive in Sofia.
Belarus, Germany, Russia, USU have their messengers here as well. Impressive is the team from the Xinhua News Agency of China. Bulgarian offices of ITAR-TASS and Associated Press have also accredited their representatives at the Junior Worlds.
The local partner and TV -rights holder Bulgarian National Television, has its own large team to cover the ISU event from more than 50 commentators, reporters, producers, directors, cameramen, technicians.
Other media local partner of the Championships is the website
Martinez withdraws from Junior Worlds
Due to multiple injuries he sustained from his practices, Sochi Olympian Michael Christian Martinez withdrew from the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Manila Bulletin announced hours before the start of the ISU event in Sofia.
Maria Teresa Martinez, the Filipino Olympian's mother, said Michael was advised to take things easy as he recovers from ankle, thigh, and knee injuries.“Michael is withdrawing from the Bulgaria competition. It’s the doctor’s and coach’s decision,” stated the figure skater’s mother. "Michael’s doctor has recommended that he withdraw from the World Junior since his knee injury has not completely healed yet, and his falls during his current practices are adding to the injuries."
Martinez finished 19th in Sochi with a total score of 184.25 points. He arrived in the Philippines on February 23, but flew back to the United States on February 27 for his supposed competition in the Junior Men Single category of the ISU World Junior Championships in Bulgaria.
Injured Maria Sotskova withdraws from the Junior Ladies competition
Maria Sotskova withdraws from the Junior Ladies competition at the ISU Junior Worlds in Sofia. The Russian - Champion at the last ISU JGP Final, suffered knee injury during practices at the Winter Sports Hall.

The young Russian star will be replaced by Evgenia Medvedeva, who was in the Russian team as substitute. Mervedeva is bronze medalist at the ISU JGP Final in Fukuoka.

The good news from the Russian team, couple of days ago, was that the world junior champion Elena Radionova did recover from injury and will defend her title in Sofia. The champion of Russia, the 14-year-old Serafima Sakhanovich, silver ISU JGP Final medalist, is also one of the strong contenders in Sofia.

Facts & Figures
168 skaters from 44 ISU member countries finally have been entered for the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2014, announced ISU Media Team in Sofia.

-21-year-old pair skater Max SETTLAGE (USA) is the oldest skater competing in the Championship (date of birth Jul 1, 1992)
-19-year-old ice dancer Viktoria KAVALIOVA (BLR) is the oldest lady (dob Jul 9, 1994)
-The youngest competitor is 14-year-old pair skater Julia LINCKH (GER/dob Feb 21, 2000)
-The youngest mail skater competing is 14-year-old Denis VASILIEVS (LAT/dob Aug 9, 1999)

There is one brother and sister team competing:
-Rachel PARSONS/Michael PARSONS (USA) in the Ice Dance event

One skater competes in two disciplines:
-Anna DUSKOVA (CZE) in Ladies and Pairs

Elena RADIONOVA (RUS) is the only reigning World Junior Champion who came back to defend her title in Sofia. She could become the first junior lady to repeat as World Junior Champion. Also competing are the following World Junior medalists: 2013 bronze medalist Shotaro OMORI (USA), 2011 silver medalist Keiji TANAKA (JPN), 2012 Pairs silver medalists Xiaoyu YU/Yang JIN (CHN) as well as 2012 Pairs bronze medalists Vasilisa DAVANKOVA/Andrei DEPUTAT (RUS).

HAPPY BIRTHADAY today, March 10, to the ice dancer Sergey MOZGOV (RUS), turning 19 here in Sofia!
Two more skaters celebrate their birthday during the Junior Worlds:
-Daniel SAMOHIN (ISR) will be 16 on March 10
-Slavik HAYRAPETIAN (ARM) celebrates his 18th birthday on March 16.
Great stars of Figure Skating are shining in the Winter Sports Hall
Ggalaxy of Figure Skating stars are welcome to the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2014.

Six years later Canadian Brian Orser is coming back to Sofia. This time as a coach of the junior men Nam Nguyen, an exotic figure skater  from Canada  with Vietnamese provenance and one of the medal contenders at the Junior Worlds.
“I am happy to come back here”, Brian Orser said, following the junior men practice session. As a skater he was world champion (1987) and twice silver Olympic medalist (1984, 1988). Orser now is very successful coach. Sochi Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu  (JPN)  due his historical title to Brian Orser. And four years before Yu Na Kim (KOR), coached by the Canadian, became Olympic ladies champion. Brian Orser is working also with the reigning European champion Javier Fernandez from Spain.

The previous visit of the Canadian star in Sofia was in 2008 at the Junior Worlds as a coach of Adam Rippon, who won straight titles in 2008 and 2009.

Evgeni Platov, two-time Olympic champion (1994, 1998), four-time World champion (1994-1997) in ice dance with Oksana Grishuk, made real sensation when appeared at the ice dance draw ceremony. He should have great memory from Sofa 1996, when the couple won first of their three consecutive European titles. Platov is now in Sofia as a coach of the Olivia Smart / Joseph Buckland from Great Britain.

Two-time World Champion (1998, 1999) and 1998 Olympic silver medalist in ice dance Anjelika Krylova shines in the Winter Sports Hall. Anjelika is coaching here the U.S. number one junior ice dance team Kaitlin Hawayek / Jean-Luc Baker.

Oleg Volkov, who is part of the coaching team of Alexander Zhulin, together with two times world ice dance champion for Bulgaria Maxim Staviski, is also coming at the Junior Worlds in Sofia.
Other Russian famous coach here is Alexei Mishin.
Rafael Arutunian:  Bulgarian coaches need financial backup
Rafael Arutunian is known figure skating coach in the world, but he also understands well the situation in Bulgaria, because years ago he was working with Ivan Dinev - our best skater ever. Arutunian is now in Sofia for the ISU Junior Worlds with his student Nathan Chen (USA).
"I have been many times in Bulgaria and I like it here. The first time I was here, was in 1983 or 1984 for the World Students Games. Then I went skiing to Vitosha, later I did summer camps on the sea. Bulgaria is a great place for a summer vacation. I love Bulgaria", said the famous coach.
As advice for Bulgarian coaches he added: "You used to have good skaters. But now you are going through  difficult time. Bulgaria has good coaches and they should continue to work. Your problem is not so much with the coaches but the Federation and especially the State should help them. They have to realize that the sport creates the image of the country to the world.  In order to succeed again to the Bulgarian figure skating, the professionals should be given a chance by helping them with financial backup. If there is money, your coaches will develop good skaters."