Ljubljana Cup 2018, the sixth of the seven-event Junior Grand Prix Series, takes places Oct. 3-6 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. With Grand Prix Final berths on the line, this competition will be hard fought. A total of 78 skaters are registered in three disciplines — 25 men, 36 ladies and 17 ice dance teams. This is a non-pairs events.
A trio of men will be locked in a battle for the top step of the podium: America′s Tomoki Hiwatashi, second at his first event in Canada; Koshiro Shimada, second in Austria; and reigning World silver medalist Artur Danielian, who will open his season here. Hiwatashi and Shimada need a top two finish to have any hope of securing a place at the Junior Grand Prix Final in December.
Two Russian ladies — Anastasia Tarakanova and Anna Tarusina, second in Canada and Bratislava, respectively — lead the field. Both will be chasing the top step of the podium to snare one of the four remaining berths available in Vancouver in December. Whoever lands in second will need a higher combined score than that of South Korea′s Yelim Kim, who has two second-place finishes to her credit and 388.23 points.
Given the Russian ladies dominance this season, Japan′s Rion Sumiyoshi, who captured the bronze medal in Canada in her international debut, would have to deliver a win at this event to be in the running for a berth. This seems unlikely, but a third place finish is possible.
Also in the running for a top three finish is Yi Christy Leung of Hong Kong. She placed fourth in Bratislava and repeated that result at the 2018 U.S. International Classic a couple of weeks later.
Russia’s Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko, first in Austria, will be the teams to beat in the ice dance discipline. Other podium contenders include Avonley Nguyen and Vladym Kolesnik of the U.S., second in Lithuania, Polina Ivanenko and Daniil Karpov, second in Canada, and Darya Popova and Volodymyr Byelikov of Ukraine, who were third in Lithuania.
CONRAD ORZEL EMBRACES NEW CHALLENGES
ARTUR DANIELIAN: ZERO TO JUNIOR HERO