Figure Skating

Alysa Liu sets sights on World Junior Figure Skating Championships with Valieva in her way

Youth Olympic champions Kagiyama Yuma (junior men) and Apollinariia Panfilova/Dmitry Rylov (junior pairs) also set to compete in Tallinn.

By ZK Goh ·

Alysa Liu and Kamila Valieva are set to go head-to-head one final time this season as the World Junior Figure Skating Championships take place in Tallinn, Estonia, from 4–8 March.

The pair, who dueled it out at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Turin where Liu finished second to Valieva in her only defeat of the season, are the top billing among the 48 skaters from 41 countries competing in the Junior Ladies event.

It will be the World Juniors debut for both skaters, who are still just 14 and 13 respectively.

Quad versus quad?

Both girls have quadruple jumps in their repertoires, making the contest an intriguing one to watch.

However, in their planned program content submitted to the International Skating Union, only Liu is listed for a quad jump – a Lutz – in her free skate.

Valieva, who is able to land a quadruple toe loop, doesn't have a quad jump listed, although that does not mean she won't perform one when the time comes.

Liu, the two-time senior American champion, is also capable of jumping the triple Axel, a jump she has listed in both of her planned programs in the Estonian capital.

However, speaking to the International Figure Skating Magazine, she played down expectations of perfection.

"I don’t expect to be perfect … there are obviously going to be mistakes, but I can learn from them," she said.

"I would be happy with any podium placement."

Men, Pairs, and Ice Dance skaters to watch

Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games champions Kagiyama Yuma and Apollinariia Panfilova/Dmitry Rylov are set to star in the Estonian capital in the Junior Men and Junior Pairs categories respectively.

Japan's Kagiyama will face competition from 34 other skaters representing 28 countries in his event.

The biggest challenge appears to be from the Lausanne silver medallist Andrei Mozalev of Russia, while other names like Daniel Grassl of Italy – last year's world junior bronze medallist, and Junior Grand Prix Final champion Sato Shun, will also figure in contention.

Meanwhile, Panfilova and Rylov are one of 16 pairs from 10 countries taking part, including Lausanne bronze medallists Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava of Georgia and team silver medallists Cate Fleming and Jedidiah Isbell from USA.

In the Junior Ice Dance, Lausanne 2020 bronze medallists Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen (USA), team gold medallists Yoshida Utana and Nishiyama Shingo (Japan), and team bronze medallists Natalie D'Alessandro and Bruce Waddell all feature. Junior Grand Prix Final champions Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya are also likely to provide stiff competition. There are 29 ice dance couples representing 22 countries in Estonia.

Event schedule and information

Tickets to the event cost five to seven euros (U.S. $5.50 to $7.80) per day, or 30 to 40 euros (U.S. $33 to 45) for a whole-event ticket.

All skaters and staff members are to be screened by medical staff, in light of the current coronavirus outbreak.

The event will take place over seven days, with four days of competition. Practice will take place every day from 2 March. (All times below are Tallinn local time, which is UTC +2 hours.)

Wednesday 4 March

11:15 Junior Men short program

18:30 Opening ceremony

19:15 Junior Pairs short program

Thursday 5 March

12:30 Junior Ice Dance rhythm dance

18:30 Junior Pairs free program and victory ceremony

Friday 6 March

10:15 Junior Ladies short program

18:15 Junior Men free program and victory ceremony

Saturday 7 March

11:45 Junior Ice Dance free dance and victory ceremony

15:45 Junior Ladies free program and victory ceremony

Sunday 8 March

15:00 Exhibition gala