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Hanyu is Golden at the World Junior Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan topped off a terrific season by claiming the men’s gold medal in the 2010 World Junior Championships in The Hague, Netherlands. China’s Nan Song rallied from fifth place after the short program to take the silver medal. Artur Gachinski of Russia moved up from sixth place to earn the bronze.

Meanwhile with two portions of the ici dance event completed, Elena Ilynikh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia strengthened their lead. Canadians Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam moved up from fifth to second and Russia’s Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin pulled up from fourth to third place.

The ISU is awarding a global prize pot of $200,000 (U.S.) at the competition with skaters/couples placing between first and 12th receiving cash rewards. The ladies and men's winners will pocket $10,00 each with the top pairs and ice dances receiving $15,000, respectively, to split.

THE MEN

Hanyu, 15, earned a personal of 147.35 score (77.95 element score/69.40 program component score) for his free skate and racked up a total of 216.10 points to take his first medal at the World Junior Championships.

Hanyu had finished 12th in his debut at the event in 2009. He is the fourth Japanese man to win the World junior title. “Today, I am very happy to win this competition,” Hanyu said. “I am satisfied with today’s performance, including the jumps, steps and spins I did my best.”

Hanyu, who was ranked third in the short program, turned in a strong performance to “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” by Sergei Rachmaninov. His program featured two triple Axels, a triple Salchow-triple toe loop combination as well as three other triples. His spins were fast and well centered. The only bobble in his fluid routine was a wobbly triple flip. “I am very happy to win, but I am even happier with the performance itself,” he said.

Song made history in winning the silver medal. He is the first Chinese man to win a silver medal at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Overall he compiled 205.25 points. “I am extremely pleased with my performance today. This was my last time to compete at the World Junior Championships and I didn’t want to have any regrets,” the 19-year-old said.

Song skated first in the final flight and his performance to Ennio Morricone soundtracks was top-notch. He earned a level four for two spins. He nailed a triple Axel, a big triple Axel-triple toe loop combination and three other triple jumps. His only miscue was a shaky triple Lutz. He scored 137.28 points (73.68/63.60), setting a personal best for the free skate. ”This medal gives me so much honor and when I look at it, it brings back pleasant memories,” he said.

Skating last to “Narcissus – Whispers from the Mirror,” Gachinski earned 133.99 points (69.79/64.20), a personal best score. With 199.19 points overall, he snagged the bronze in his debut at Junior Worlds. The young Russian skater went for a quad toe to open his program, but he popped the jump into a double. He rallied to land two triple Axels and five more triple jumps. Each of his two spins was marked a level four.

The 16-year-old was pleased with his performance. “The quad didn’t work out, but all the other elements were good and I am satisfied,” Gachinski said. “Maybe there wasn’t enough preparation for the quad as this was the first time for me to try it in competition. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it, but I felt confident. I’ll work on it for the future.”

Keegan Messing (USA), who was in second place after the short program, dropped to fourth. He landed seven triple jumps, but went down on a triple Axel (197.03). Overnight leader Grant Hochstein (USA) fell on a triple Axel and struggled with three other jumps to drop to fifth (194.30 points). Andrei Rogozine (CAN) vaulted from 13th to sixth with a strong performance that included eight triples (179.81 points).

ICE DANCE

Skating last out of the 30 couples, Ilinykh and Katsalapov performed a fluid performance to South American folklore music. Their dance was highlighted by their intricate footwork and straight line lift. Ilinykh and Katsalapov total score added up to 97.46 points. “Our program went well today. There was a nice support from the crowd and you really feel that in competition,” Katsalapov said.

Ilinykh and Katsalapov, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists, earned level fours for all four elements in the dance and received a personal best 59.94 points (32.10/27.84).

“There were a few minor errors in the programs, errors that probably only we and our coaches noticed and not the spectators and the judges, but we know what we have to work on for the future,” Ilinykh said.

Paul and Islam interpreted a soft Spanish Waltz and a passionate Flamenco. They scored 55.90 points (30.20/25.70) and scored a season best 47.91 points. Overall they now have 89.22 points.

“We are very happy with tonight,” Islam said. “We wanted to come out and to basically skate our personal best and that’s exactly what we did. We were confident going into the OD this afternoon. We had a good skate two days ago (in the Compulsory Dance).”

Showing precision and speed throughout the program, the Canadians earned a level four for their twizzles, lift and the diagonal step sequence while their side-by-side footwork was graded a level three.

Performing a characteristic Ukrainian folk dance, Monko and Khaliavin earned 53.55 points (27.40/26.15) and accumulated 87.72 points so far. “Our performance was good, there were a few glitches, but overall it was clean and our coach was happy with it,” Khaliavin said.

The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final champions completed difficult twizzles and a whirling rotational lift. The twizzles were marked a level four, but their circular steps garnered only a level two.

Reigning World Junior silver medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (USA) slipped from third to fourth. Their Japanese dance was solid, but their side-by-side footwork received only a level two. At 86.94 points, they are still close to the podium.

Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi (ITA) moved up one spot to fifth with a lively Tarantella (84.97 points), while Ekaterina Pushkash and Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS) dropped from third to sixth after a mistake on their twizzles (82.80 points).


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