Figure Skating

Panfilova and Rylov cap superb season with pairs title at junior Worlds

Youth Olympic champions Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov claimed gold in Tallinn after fellow Russians Elizaveta Shanaeva and David Naryzhnyy took an early ice dance lead

By Rory Jiwani ·

Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov maintained their perfect record in junior pairs competitions this season with victory at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn on Thursday (5 March).

The Winter Youth Olympic champions set a new short program junior world record yesterday, breaking their own mark from Lausanne 2020 by two points.

And they were a class apart in the free skate, taking overall victory by 21 points to go one better than their silver from Zagreb 12 months ago.

Russia swept the podium in the Estonian capital with Kseniia Akhanteva and Valerii Kolesov taking silver in front of Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev.

Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov added the world junior title in Tallinn to their Youth Olympic gold at Lausanne 2020

Russians on top yet again

All the focus was on the final group with Artemeva and Nazarychev first to go of the medal contenders.

They were third overnight but any hopes of moving up the order were dashed when Artemeva fell on a double Axel before taking tumbles on a throw triple flip and a throw triple loop.

That saw them score 100.92, over 16 points down on their personal test, for a total of 171.18.

Germany's Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel beat the Russians in the free skate, but they could not bridge the seven-point gap from the short program and went into second place overall.

Akhanteva and Kolesov were also below their best with the former falling on a triple Salchow and a triple toe loop before stumbling on a throw triple loop.

But they did enough to take the lead in the free skate with 104.41 and first place overall with 174.85.

That left just Panfilova and Rylov to go and the outstanding partnership of the season did not disappoint.

Their skate to 'No One Ever Called Me That' by Dario Marianelli was not perfect with Rylov's jumping far from solid at times.

But their pair elements were excellent and a score of 122.25 was easily enough for victory in the free skate and the overall title with 195.96.

It caps a wonderful campaign for the duo who won both their Junior Grand Prix assignments, December's Junior Grand Prix Final, and Winter Youth Olympic gold before this latest triumph.

They also finished sixth in the Russian senior national pairs competition.

France's Cleo Hamon and Denys Strekalin of France were fifth ahead of Kate Finster and Balazs Nagy of the United States with Georgia's Lausanne 2020 bronze medallists and mixed NOC team winners Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava in eighth place.

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Shanaeva and Naryzhnyy take ice dance rhythm dance

There was something of a surprise in the ice dance as Elizaveta Shanaeva and David Naryzhnyy eclipsed their season's best to hold the narrowest of leads after the rhythm dance.

The Russians were third in December's Junior Grand Prix Final in Turin, but stepped up markedly on that in Tallinn as they received high grade of execution (GOE) scores for all eight elements including their twizzles and a stunning closing rotational lift.

They were awarded 70.03, more than two points higher than their score en route to winning the JGP Chelyabinsk, to top the leaderboard by just 0.05 from Georgia's Junior Grand Prix Final winners Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya.

Shanaeva told, "We are very pleased with our performance and with the progress we’ve made since our last competitions.

"We wanted to show the maximum as most likely there won’t be any other competitions this season."

Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik of the United States, runners-up in Turin, were third on the day with 68.27.

Their compatriots, Lausanne 2020 ice dance bronze medallists Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen, smashed their career best in the rhythm dance by almost six points.

At just 15 and 17, they are one of the younger pairs in Tallinn, but their score of 64.77 left them in seventh place ahead of Saturday's free dance.

Japan's Yoshida Utana and Nishiyama Shingo, mixed team gold medallists at Lausanne 2020, were just shy of their rhythm dance season's best.

The duo clearly enjoyed themselves during their skate to music from 'A Chorus Line' and scored 56.05 to end the day in 13th.

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