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Kamila Valieva front runner at Junior Worlds

2020 Junior Worlds

Ladies’ Short Program

Kamila Valieva of Russia took the lead in the Ladies’ Short Program in Tallinn, Estonia, on Friday afternoon. South Korea’s Haein Lee, who finished eighth last year, is currently in second, followed by Russia’s Daria Usacheva.

Valieva gave a confident and solid skate to “Girl on the Ball,” landing a triple loop, double Axel, and triple Lutz-triple toe. All jumps received positive grades of execution (GOE) and the 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix Final champion also earned a level 4 for quality spins and footwork. She scored a new personal best of 74.92 points.

“I’m satisfied with almost everything I did today,” said the 13-year-old. “I skated quite well, except for the combination, there was a little mistake. I skated calmly and wasn’t as nervous as at the Junior Grand Prix Final.”

Skating to “Nocturne,” Lee produced a triple Lutz-triple toe, double Axel, and triple loop, and displayed level 4 spins and footwork throughout. All elements received positive GOEs and the national silver medalist earned a new personal best of 70.08 points.

“I did not expect to be in the top three in the short program,” said the 14-year-old from Seoul. “It is important for me to get a high score for the senior level next season. It’s my last competition this season, so I was a bit nervous. Now I’m very happy, I did a great job. I’m surprised with the score, it’s very high.”

Usacheva underrotated the back end of a triple flip-triple toe in which the Lutz also received an edge call. However, that was the only mistake the 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist made as she landed a solid double Axel and triple loop. All spins and footwork received high GOEs, particularly the layback spin, in her routine to “Please Don’t Make Me Love You.” She scored 68.45 points.

Today’s skating was bad,” said the Russian National junior bronze medalist. “I made a mistake on my triple flip-triple toeloop combination and I am not satisfied. Other elements were good. The support of the crowd definitely helps. I tried not to look down and work with the audience.”

USA’s Alysa Liu underrotated the back end of a triple Axel-triple toe, but landed a double Axel and triple loop in her routine to “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” All three spins were graded a level 4, while the footwork was a level 3, and the 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist earned 67.52 point for fourth place.

“I’m not to happy about today performance,” said the two-time and current U.S. champion. “There were some mistakes in my jumps, I was a bit slow. My triple Axel wasn’t good in my opinion. I was a bit shaky on the landing.”

Russia’s Maiia Khromykh scored 66.78 points for fifth place after her performance to music from the Ladies in Lavender soundtrack. The 2019 JGP Courchevel bronze medalist fought for the landing of a triple loop, but landed a solid double Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe, and all spins were graded a level 4.

“I haven’t fully realized I’m at [Junior] Worlds,” said the 13-year-old. “It feels like a usual competition. I could’ve done better, the loop wasn’t good, maybe because I was nervous.”

Seoyeong Wi of South Korea did not receive any value for her flying sit spin, but showed a very good level 4 layback spin. The 2020 Asian Open junior champion also executed a double Axel, triple loop, and very good triple Lutz-triple toe, scoring 65.45 points for sixth place.

“It’s my first Junior Worlds, so I was very nervous today,” admitted the 14-year old from Hwaseong City. “I did no big mistakes, so I’m very satisfied.”

USA’s Starr Andrews delivered an expressive and solid routine to “You Lost Me,” which featured a triple toe-triple toe, double Axel, and triple loop. All spins and footwork garnered a level 4 and the 2019 Gold Spin junior silver medalist sits in seventh with 65.31 points.

“I’m really proud of what I did today,” said the 18-year-old from California. “My short program is one of my favorites, a lot of emotions. It’s hard to be different in this sport, so I’m excited to skate something different from what anybody else does.”

Japan’s Mana Kawabe fought for the landing of a triple loop, but was otherwise solid, landing a triple Lutz-triple toe and double Axel. The 15-year-old from Osaka earned 64.47 points for eighth place.

Poland’s Ekaterina Kurakova (63.20) and Japan’s Tomoe Kawabata (62.85) rounded out the top 10 ladies.