ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009 Day One
The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009 opened Tuesday in Sofia, Bulgaria with theCompulsory Dance and the Pairs Short Program. A record number of 208 skaters have been entered for thecompetition. Singapore is for the first time represented at ISU Figure Skating Championships with an entryin the Ladies event. Bulgaria has hosted the World Junior Championships before in 2001 and 2008.

Ice Dancing, Compulsory DanceThe Compulsory Dance at the ISU World Junior Championships 2009 was the Paso Doble. The Paso Dobleis a dramatic and powerful Spanish dance requiring good body control and precise footwork. It can beexpressed in terms of its origins from the music of bull fighting or in Flamenco style. The Paso Doble wascreated by Reginald B. Wilkie and Daphne B. Wallis. It was first performed in London in 1938.

Madison Chock/Greg Zuerlein (USA) took the lead ahead of their teammates Madison Hubbell/KeifferHubbell and Russia’s Ekaterina Pushkash/Dmitri Kiselev.

Chock/Zuerlein put out a solid performance of the Paso Doble, interpreting the character of the dance verywell and posted a new seasons best of 33.15 points (17.92 element score/15.23 program component score).“We are happy with our result, but it wasn’t our best performance. We were solid, though, in our patterns”,Chock commented. “It’s one of my favourite dances of all the compulsories. It is very expressive and fun todo. We were not nervous. We are well prepared. We trained for this. We just put this behind us and then startfresh again”, she continued, referring to the Original Dance. “We like the dance; it’s a good dance for us.We’ve done it the whole year now. This (competition) was our goal the whole year, to make the JuniorWorlds and hopefully medal”, Zuerlein added.

Hubbell/Hubbell delivered a nice Paso Doble as well and scored 31.29 points (16.90/14.49) to come secondon Madison Hubbell’s 18th birthday. “It was my birthday wish!” the ice dancer laughed. “It’s cool to be hereat Junior Worlds on my birthday, it’s a good way to celebrate. I just got second at Junior Worlds on thePaso, that’s an honour. This year I feel the most prepared I’ve ever felt. I’m happy to be here and it reallyfeels like we are ready to compete. We look forward to the rest of the week.” Her brother revealed that theystarted practicing the dance only recently. “We’ve been skating it only for a of couple weeks, but I think weskated good for us. It’s a great dance. The Paso Doble is fun, it’s a fun character. I love the outfits”, he said.Pushkash/Kiselev’s third place came as a little surprise, but the Muscovites’ Paso Doble was solid andsmooth. They picked up 30.44 points (16.70/13.74). “It was a good skate. We didn’t expect to place so highand we’ll try to stay up there. We’ll try even harder than today”, Pushkash said. “The Paso Doble is ourfavourite dance. We’ve had it in all our competitions this season, we never had the Waltz. So we’ve reallygotten into the Paso Doble, we got used to it and like it more than the others”, she continued.

The couples ranked fourth to seventh are less two points away from a podium spot. Kharis Ralph/Asher Hill(CAN) came in fourth at 30.09 points. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) are sitting in fifth (29.71points). Karen Routhier/Eric Saucke-Lacelle (CAN) were sixth (29.24 points) and Junior Grand Prix Finalbronze medalists Ekaterina Riazanova/Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS) are currently standing in 7th place (29.02points).

Pairs, Short Program
The competition continued with the Pairs Short Program. The required throw jump in the Junior Pairs ShortProgram in the 2008/2009 season is the throw loop (double or triple). The required solo jump is the doubleLutz.Russia’s Liubov

Iliushechkina/Nodari Maisuradze captured the lead with Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir(USA) and Ekaterina Sheremetieva/Mikhail Kuznetsov of Russia following in second and third place.Iliushechkina/Maisuradze landed a high double twist, throw triple loop and showed difficult spins andspirals, earning a level four for the two spins and the death spiral. Iliushechkina only turned out of thelanding of the side by side double Lutz. The Junior Grand Prix Final Champions were awarded 55.12 points(32.28/22.84) for their routine to “Prologue” by Lorena McKennitt. “We skated with a lot of expressiontoday, we made some small errors, but overall it was a successful performance”, Maisuradze said. “Pressureor not, there is always a certain nervousness before the competition, but we’ve been to bigger events beforeand we’ve learned to be calmer”, Iliushechkina added.

Castelli/Shnapir gave a solid performance to “The Survivor” soundtrack that featured a double twist, onearmedhand-to-hip lift and a throw triple loop. Their pair combination spin, lift and spiral sequence weregraded a level four while the death spiral was a level one. The U.S. Junior Champions picked up a newseasons best with 49.10 points (28.62/20.48). “Our goal tonight was to sell our programs and really put out alot of emotion, work on our component scores, and I think we really improved in that. In that sense, we had anice, clean program, we really sold it, we both felt very emotional throughout the whole program. Thepresentation was great”, Shnapir stated. “We skated a very well done program today. I just want to have funon the ice and come off with a smile on my face and I did”, Castelli commented.

Skating to “Wild Dances” by Ruslana, Sheremetieva/Kuznetsov produced a solid throw triple loop, a doubletwist, and a difficult hand-to-hip lift with changes of positions. However, she singled the side by side Lutz.The Muscovites scored 48.84 points (28.72/20.12). “We made errors today, big errors, but we just skate theway were are prepared”, Kuznetsov told the post-event press conference. “We didn’t skate together for threemonths from the middle of October and we only really started skating again on the 10th of January”, heexplained. “I had an injury to my right upper leg, a micro-tear”, added Sheremetieva. “I couldn’t practice thejumps and throws. Unfortunately wed didn’t show what we can do, but we hope that we can showeverything tomorrow in the Free Skating.”

While Iliushechkina/Maisuradze lead by six points, the couples ranked second to fifth are separated by lessthan two points. Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers (CAN) came in fourth with a clean program that containethrow triple loop and a level-four side by side spin (48.64 points). Anais Morand/Antoine Dorsaz (SUI) aresitting in fifth with 47.28 points. They hit the throw triple loop, side by side double Lutz and two level-fourspins.

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009 continue Wednesday with the Men’s ShortProgram and the Pairs Free Skating. For more information and full results please see: www.isu.org andhttp://www.isuworldjunior2009.com.

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