2019 Riga Cup, the third event of the Series, will be held at the Volvo Sport Center, Sept. 4-7 in Riga, Latvia. A total of 78 skaters/teams are slated to compete: 23 men, 36 ladies and 19 ice dance duos. The pairs discipline will not be contested at this stop on the 2019 Junior Grand Prix circuit.
In the men′s event, two 18-year-olds, Andrew Torgashev of the U.S. and Canada′s Joseph Phan — who are returning to the junior circuit for their third and fourth respective seasons — are the veterans in the field. Russia′s Daniil Samsonov, 14, the reigning national junior champion has garnered a lot of attention since his victory in February. He will make his international debut at this competition. His teammate, Andrew Mozalev, 15, is back for a second season on the junior circuit. He was impressive at his first outing in 2018, winning the event in the Czech Republic, but faltered at his second in Yerevan, Armenia, finishing sixth.
The ladies field will showcase a wealth of talent from 28 nations. Russia′s Alena Kanysheva, who is coached by Eteri Tutberidze, was slated to open her season at this competition but has withdrawn due to injury. She has been replaced by Maiia Kromykh, the bronze medalist in Courchevel two weeks ago. This competition will be hers to win or lose. Who will challenge her for a place on the podium should make for an exciting event.
Japan′s Rion Sumiyoshi, the bronze medalist in Canada and fourth in Slovenia in 2018 could be one of those podium threats this season. Russian-born Ekaterina Kurakova who represents Poland and is coached by Brian Orser, might also be in the running for a medal at this competition.
There is no clear-cut, stand-out favorite in the ice dance discipline. A number of returning teams that found a modicum of success last season are returning, mixed in with many that will make their debuts on the junior circuit at this competition.
Canada′s Natalie D′Alessandro and Bruce Waddell were impressive in their pre-season competitions. Skating is in Waddell′s blood. He is the grandson of the late, great NHL star “Red” Kelly, and Andra McLaughlin Kelly, a professional show skater in the Sonja Henie era.
Georgia′s Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya are returning for a second season. The team made history last year as the first skaters from their nation to ever earn a place at a Junior Final. They finished sixth.
The seven-event Junior Grand Prix Series will be live-streamed worldwide on the ISU YouTube channel (link below).