Three disciplines will be contested at the final stop of the 2019 Junior Grand Prix Series in Egna-Neumarkt, Italy, Oct. 2-5.
The pressure will be intense for those who have the possibility of scoring one of the remaining berths at the Junior Grand Prix Final in singles and ice dance. The six pairs teams that will compete at the Final were finalized at the competition in Zagreb, Croatia, last weekend. A total of 76 skaters/teams are currently slated to compete at this event: 25 men, 33 ladies and 18 ice dance teams.
The battle for gold will be between three men, all of whom have a shot at making the Final. Russia′s Petr Gumennik is in the best position with a win in Chelyabinsk under his belt. He will be looking to repeat that result and book a second consecutive trip to the Final. His teammate, Ilya Yablokov, who is coached by Victoria Volchkova, placed third in his first event on home soil. He will need to win this competition to have any hope of making the top six. Likewise, Daniel Grassl of Italy placed third at his first event in Poland and would also need to win to secure a trip to Italy in December. That will be a tough challenge for both if Gumennik skates up to his potential.
With three ladies berths at the Final locked up, this will be a do or die competition for Russia′s Ksenia Sinitsyna, second in Chelyabinsk, and Yeonjeong Park of South Korea, second in Lake Placid. Both be chasing gold and/or silver to snare the remaining spots in Torino. Japan′s Rino Matsuike, who finished third in Riga and had a chance to qualify for the Final has withdrawn. Russia′s Anna Frolova, the bronze medalist in Zagreb, would also be in the running for a trip to the Final if she were to win this competition.
In ice dance, Russia’s Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Andrey Filatov, who won their first event in Latvia, should easily dance to gold and punch a ticket to the Final. Canada’s Natalie D′Alessandro and Bruce Waddell missed the third step of the podium at their first event in Riga by the slimmest of margins — 0.67 of a point and are the second-highest ranked team in this field. That puts them in a solid position to medal at this competition. Japan′s Utana Yoshida and Shingo Nishiyama, should also have a solid shot at a podium finish.
The Junior Grand Prix events will be broadcast worldwide, live on the ISU YouTube channel (link below).