Nobunari Oda of Japan was the gold medal winner in the men’s event, while France’s Yannick Ponsero won the silver. The bronze went to Sergei Dobrin of Russia.
The men’s event began with the Qualifying Round (QR). The qualifying round did not impact the final score in this event. It’s purpose was to determine which of the 30 (of 40) competitors would proceed to the Short Program.
Skating to Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song) by Safri Duo, France’s Yannick Ponsero opened with a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple loop, and a double Axel, earning a 64.90 points (a personal best) for a first place finish after the short.
“This was the best program I ever did,” said a smiling Ponsero. “The result of this Junior Worlds is very important for me.” He added that he finished ninth in the Short Program last year at Junior Worlds. “I progressed mentally since then. I have been landing the quad toeloop, quad Salchow and triple Axel for a while now (in practice), but I wasn’t focused enough in competition. Now I worked
on this – not asking myself too many questions and focusing on what I can do.”
Nobunari Oda of Japan put out an entertaining program to music from the Super Mario video game soundtrack, landing a solid triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop, and a double Axel. Oda, who is the 17th descendant of Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), the famous Japanese war lord during the age of the civil war, earned 64.33 points (a personal best) for a second place finish after the short.
“I enjoyed myself out there,” said Oda, “and I’m happy that I was able to skate with a smile. I had fun, I heard the cheering of the audience and they pushed me.” When asked why his right hand was wrapped in ice, he replied, “Yesterday in practice I fell on a triple Axel attempt and strained my right hand.”
Russia’s Sergei Dobrin performed his short to music from the Black Cat, White Cat soundtrack, landing a triple Axel-triple toeloop (turnout on the Axel) combination, a triple loop, and a double Axel. The 2004 Russian junior champion earned a score of 60.18 for a third place finish after the short.
“Thanks to my coaches Zhanna Gromova and Margarita Romanenko, who prepared me for this event, I was able to skate quite well,” said Dobrin. “I had a little mistake in the combination, but overall I think it was good.”
Yasuharu Nanri of Japan delivered a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop, and a double Axel, earning 59.60 points for a fourth place finish with his routine to Two Guitars.
USA’s Jordan Brauninger landed a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, but underrotated and turned out the landing of the toeloop (which was downgraded to a double). The 2004 World junior bronze medalist earned 59.00 points for his routine to Clocks by Coldplay, placing fifth after the short.
Jinlin Guan of China placed sixth (57.04 points) after the short, followed by USA’s Shaun Rogers (55.72 points).
Alexander Uspenski of Russia, who was first in his qualifying group, placed 14th after the short. The 2004-05 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist withdrew due to a viral respiratory infection and fever.
Prior to the short program, teammate Sergei Voronov also withdrew as a result of a stress fracture in his right foot.
Oda nailed a solid triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop-double loop combination in his routine to music from the Zatoichi soundtrack. The 17-year-old also produced a triple flip, a double Axel-triple toeloop combination, a triple Salchow, a triple loop-double toeloop combination, a double Axel, and a triple Lutz (stepped out). The Japanese junior champion also displayed good spins and footwork, earning a score of 132.09 (a personal best) for a first place finish in the long and overall (196.42) to win the gold.
“I landed the triple Axel for the first time in competition,” said an overwhelmed Oda, “and I had focused on this. After I landed it, the rest of the program went very smoothly. Oda only began landing the triple Axel during practice at this event, and was surprised. “I failed to do it in the qualifying round, so I was a bit nervous about trying it today.”
Ponsero, who was first after the short, landed a solid triple Axel, but fell on a quadruple toeloop attempt. The student from Annecy came back to land a triple Salchow, a trip flip-triple Salchow sequence, a triple Axel-double toeloop combination, and a triple Lutz. Despite doubling a loop and stepping out of the landing of the toeloop in a double Axel-double toeloop combination, the 18-year-old earned a score of 120.55 for his routine to music from the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack. The errors cost him, however, and he slipped from first to second place overall (185.45).
“This was the most beautiful competition for me,” said the Frenchman. “It was a long, hard program, but I did my best. Finally I did two triple Axels in one program, but I made a mistake on the quad toeloop. I can do the quad toe and Salchow every day in practice. Now I need to do them in competition and that is the most difficult part.” This is his fourth trip to the World Junior Championships. “I was second after the short in 2003 in Ostrava, but then I couldn’t hold on to this placement in the long. That was disappointing.”
Skating to music from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, Brauninger opened with a triple Axel-triple toeloop (downgraded to a double toeloop) combination and a nice triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. Despite a doubled toeloop, the 16-year-old landed four more good triple jumps to earn a score of 119.32, placing third in the long. With a total score of 178.32, he missed the podium by less than a point, placing fourth overall.
Dobrin, who stood in third after the short, opened his routine to Faust with a shaky but clean triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, followed by a good triple Axel, a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, and a triple flip. However, the 18-year-old barely saved the landing of a triple loop and put his hands down on the landing of a triple Lutz and a double Axel, and earned a score of 118.84 for a fourth place finish in the long. With a total score of 179.02, the young Russian was able to hold onto his third place position to win the bronze.
“This competition didn’t start too well for me with the qualifying (round),” commented Dobrin, “but then I was third in the short and I’m third after the free, so I’m very pleased with this result and with finally having won a medal.”
Guan had a clean skate to H. K. Police by Plan B, landing a total of seven triple jumps as well as two double Axels. The 15-year-old earned a score of 109.41 four a fifth place finish in the long and overall (166.45).
Rogers, who was sixth after the short, landed a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination in his long, but fell on a triple Axel and put his hand down on two other jumps, finishing eighth overall.
Nanri, who was fourth after the short, slipped to sixth overall after placing ninth in the long.
Canada’s Patrick Chan rose from 11th to seventh place overall after finishing sixth in the long.