Hanyu nabs Junior World title

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan catapulted to first place after the Long Program to win the title by nearly 11 points. China’s Nan Song also rose from fifth to second place overall to win silver, while Artur Gachinski of Russia rose from sixth to third overall for the bronze.

Hanyu delivered a strong routine to Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini which featured two triple Axels, a triple Salchow-triple toeloop combination as well as three more triples, however he received a deduction for use of the wrong edge on a triple flip.

Despite the mistake on the flip, the 15-year-old otherwise executed two good level 3 spins as, and earned a level 4 and very high Grades of Execution (GoE) for his final combination sit spin. The Japanese Junior Champion scored a new personal best of 147.35 points (77.95/69.40) for a first place finish in the long. With a total score of  216.10 points, he rose from third to first overall to win the gold.

Hanyu, who  finished 12th last year, is the  fourth Japanese man to win the World Junior title.

“Today, I am very happy to win this competition and I am satisfied with today’s performance, including the jumps, steps and spins,” said Hanyu. “I did my best. I am very happy to win, but I am even happier with the performance itself.”

Song skated a solid routine to music from Once Upon a Time in America which featured a triple Axel, a triple Axel-triple toeloop, as well as four more triple jumps. The Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist also earned a level 4 for two of his spins and earned a good spins a new personal best of 137.28 points (73.68/63.60) for second place. With a total score of 205.25 points, the 19-year-old became the  Chinese man to win a silver medal at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

“I am extremely pleased with my performance today,” sand Song. “This was my last time to compete at the World Junior Championships and I didn’t want to have any regrets. This medal gives me so much honor and when I look at it, it brings back pleasant memories.”

Gachinski popped his planned quad toeloop to a double, but otherwise landed seven triple jumps – including two triple Axels in his performance to music by Keiko Matsui. The 2010 Russian Junior Champion also earned a level 4 on two of his spins and showed good level 3 straight line footwork. He earned a new personal best of 133.99 points (69.79/64.20) for third place in the long, and with a total score of 199.19 points, rose from sixth place to win the bronze.

“The quad didn’t work out,” acknowledged the 16-year-old, “but all the other elements were good and I am satisfied. Maybe there wasn’t enough preparation for the quad as this was the first time for me to try it in competition. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it, but I felt confident. I’ll work on it for the future.”

USA’s Keegan Messing landed seven triple jumps including a triple Axel, however he fell on a triple Axel and had an edge call on a triple flip in his Incredible Hulk routine. The  18-year-old otherwise earned a level 4 and high GoEs on  two of his spins, but the mistakes on his jumps were too costly. He scored 128.13 points (a new personal best) for fourth place in the long and fell from second to fourth overall with 197.03 points.

Artur Dmitriev of Russia placed fifth in the long with 123.88 points, and rose from 15th to seventh overall with 177.78 points after his Pirates of the Caribbean routine. The son of two-time Olympic Pairs Champion Artur Dmitriev landed a quadruple toe-double toe, as well as five triple jumps, however, his flip received an edge call and his overall GoEs were lower than that of the higher ranking skaters.

USA’s Grant Hochstein, who stood in first after the Short Program, fell on a triple Axel and struggled with several other jumps. He placed seventh in the long and dropped to fifth overall with 194.30 points.

“I found myself in a position that I didn’t really expect to be in after the short,” explained the 18-year-old. “It’s all new territory for me and I’m still learning how to deal with everything that comes with it.”

“I think the problem was that I was just trying too hard instead of letting my body do what it knows how to do,” Hochstein continued. “When you force things they don’t happen. Therefore, some of my jumps weren’t as I would have liked. I was very happy to recieve full credit for my triple Axel for the first time. I still landed six triples and am really proud of my efforts at Jr. Worlds.”

Andrei Rogozine of Canada landed eight triple jumps, albeit an edge call on a Lutz, and rose from 13th to sixth overall with 179.81 points.

Sweden’s Alexander Majorov finished in eighth place, followed by Denis Ten of Kazakhstan and USA’s Armin Mahbanoozadeh.

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