2018 JGP Czech Republic, the fifth event of the Series, plays out in Ostrava, Sep. 26-29.
As at Sep. 23 there are 95 skaters currently slated to compete at this event: 36 ladies, 24 men, 17 pairs and 18 ice dance teams registered. This will be the longest event of the 2018 Series.
Russia′s Alena Kostornaia will be chasing a second title to secure a place at the Junior Grand Prix Final in December. Following her victory in Austria, she is now just one step away from achieving that goal. Kostornaia will be joined by yet another young Russian debutante — Viktoria Vasilieva, 13.
Two other skaters will likely battle it out for second: Shiika Yoshioka of Japan, third in Austria, and South Korea′s Yelim Kim, second in Lithuania. (Kim subsequently claimed bronze at the 2018 U.S. Classic in mid-September). Given the dominance of the Russian ladies in the Series this season, Yoshioka needs a second place finish to snare a berth at the Final. If Lim places second they will be tied and both will have to wait until the end of the Series to see who goes and who stays home.
The men′s event could very well be a battle royale with a trio chasing not only a top-three finish but also a place at the Junior Final. Camden Pulkinen of the U.S. is in the best position. He heads into this competition with 15 points following his win in Austria in late August. He can place no lower than fourth here to book a trip to Vancouver.
As with the ladies, Japan′s Mitsuki Sumoto, second in Bratislava, and Russia′s Kirill Iakovlev, second in Lithuania, will be fighting for a second place finish to have any hope of making it to the Final. Sumoto is the only Japanese man competing in Ostrava.
In pairs, Russia′s Polina Kostiukovich and Dmitrii Ialin, and Anastasia Poluianova and Dmitri Sopot, who placed first and second, respectively, in Austria, will likely punch their tickets to the Final. The third Russian team of Kseniia Akhanterva and Valerii Kolesov, third in Bratislava, need another podium finish to be in the running. A Russian sweep of the podium in Ostrava is certainly a possibility.
Another North Korean pairs team is on the horizon. Hyang Mi Ro and Kim Chol Han will make their debut at this competition.
Russian ice dancers, Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Nikita Nazarov, first in Bratislava, should have no trouble repeating that result at this event. They will be joined by teammates Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin, who will make their international debut. Davis is the daughter of Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze.
2018 JUNIOR GRAND PRIX SERIES