The 2017 World Junior Championships will open in Taipei, Chinese Taipei, on March 15. Taipei hosts the event for the first time, but has hosted the Four Continents Championships three times in the past.
A total of 184 skaters from 43 member nations have been entered. All skaters compete in the short program/short dance and the top 24 singles skaters, top 16 pairs and top 20 ice dance teams proceed to the free skate/free dance.
Overview of the top contenders
The Junior men’s event looks very competitive. Reigning World Junior Champion Daniel Samohin (ISR) heads in with a season’s best of 226.53 points to Taipei and is aiming at defending his title, but competition will be tough. The challenge should come from ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Dmitri Aliev (RUS/seasons best 240.07 points), ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Alexander Samarin (RUS/seasons best 236.52 points) and ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Jun Hwan Cha (KOR/seasons best 239.47 points). 2016 World Junior silver medalist Nicolas Nadeau (CAN), National silver medalist Vincent Zhou (USA), Alexander Petrov (RUS) and ISU Junior Grand Prix finalist Alexei Krasnozhon (USA) have set their eyes on the podium as well.
In the Junior Ladies, World Junior Champion Marin Honda (JPN) is back and wants to defend her title, but has to expect stiff competition. Honda, who has a season’s best of 184.11 points, had qualified for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final, but had to withdraw due to illness. Alina Zagitova (RUS) looks like the top favorite after winning the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final and scoring a season’s best of 207.43 points. Polina Tsurskaya (RUS), who missed the Junior Final due to injury, but won her two Junior Grand Prix events earlier this season, ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto (JPN), Eunsoo Lim (KOR), Stanislava Konstantinova (RUS) and Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN) are challenging for the podium as well.
The Junior Pairs event looks wide open. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii (RUS/seasons best 159.72 points), ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Alina Ustimkina/Nikita Volodin (RUS/seasons best 167.78 points), Amina Atakhanova/Ilia Spiridonov (RUS/seasons best 159.94 points) and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Windsor (AUS/seasons best 159.26) are leading the field. Other competitors include Chelsea Liu/Brian Johnson (USA), Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud (CAN) and Su Yeon Kim/Hyungtae Kim (KOR). 2016 World Junior Champions and reigning ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Anna Duskova/Martin Bidar (CZE) have moved up to the senior level following the Junior Final.
All 2016 World Junior Ice Dance medalists are back this year in Taipei. Reigning World Junior Champions Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA/seasons best 159.30 points) hope to defend their title and are aiming at their third consecutive Junior World podium, but they have to watch out for reigning ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions and defending World Junior silver medalists Rachael Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA/seasons best 162.50 points) and 2016 World Junior bronze medalists Alla Loboda/Pavel Drozd (RUS/seasons best 161.87). Other contenders include ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Angelique Abachkina/Louis Thauron (FRA) and Christina Carreira/ Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) as well as 2016 Youth Olympic Games Champions Anastasia Shpilevaya/Grigory Smirnov (RUS).
Please note that for the seasonal best total scores only the ISU Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior), ISU Championships, Olympic Winter Games and the ISU Challenger Series have been taken into consideration, not other international competitions or National Championships.