Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Junior Grand Prix: Poland

This past weekend the Junior Grand Prix concluded in Toruń, Poland. It was a VERY good weekend for Japan!

In Pairs, Takahashi and Tran of Japan bettered their bronze from last week in Lake Placid to take the title in Poland in a close final. Less than one point behind in second were Russians Novik and Kuznetsov with Canadians Jones and Gaskell pulling up to place third. Americans Zhang and Toth improved on their seventh place short program with a top four free skate and finished sixth overall.

In Ice Dance, Russians Ilinykh and Katsalapov won big. They won all three portions of the competition on their way to an easy victory. Their teammates, Antipova and Kudashev were second overall, despite finishing third in the free skate behind Americans Cannuscio and Lorello who took the bronze. Important to note Japan had no entries in Ice Dance.

Amongst the women, Japan also did well with Kanako Murakami taking the title easily. In second was Russian Anna Ovcharova and winning the bronze was American Christina Gao in her Junior Grand Prix debut. American Karen Zhou finished fifth.

Once again, Japan enjoyed success with Yuzuru Hanyu winning the gold medal by more than twenty points. In second was American Kanallakan who held on to second after a rough free skate that was ranked only fifth best. The bronze medal went to Russian Gordei Gorshkov who held off the challenge by teammate Alexander Nikolaev who actually placed second in the free skate. American Keegan Messing pulled all the way up to sixth from eleventh after a top three free skate.

Every Japanese entry in this event won! Full results can be seen here.

No Junior Grand Prix this weekend but the competition picks back up next week in Minsk, Belarus.

UPDATE: Big thanks to @patinaggio on Twitter for posting a link to the video of Yuzuru Hanyu's very elegant performance. My favorite highlight is the Ina Bauer he does.

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