Figure Skating

Kamila Valieva beats Alysa Liu to junior ladies' Grand Prix Final crown

At just 13 years old, the latest figure skating protegée from the Eteri Tutberidze camp makes her mark in Turin.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Eteri Tutberidze has yet another hugely exciting prospect on her hands with Kamila Valieva taking victory in the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final ladies' event in Turin.

Valieva bounced back from fourth in the short program to claim the win despite only returning to training less than four weeks ago after a leg injury.

US national champion Alysa Liu was second with Valieva's training partner Daria Usacheva taking bronze.

Valieva's win means that Russians have won this title for 10 years in succession with the last six - Evgenia Medvedeva in 2014, Polina Tsurskaya 2015, Alina Zagitova 2016, Alexandra Trusova 2017, Alena Kostornaia 2018 and Valieva 2019 - going to Tutberidze skaters.

“I am pleased with my performance and with how I skated.” - Kamila Valieva speaking to reporters

Kamila Valieva during her free skate at the 2019 Junior Grand Prix Final in Turin

Liu splits Russian duo

Valieva had not even been born when Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics.

But the 13-year-old, skating third, showed composure beyond her years to produce a polished free skate after disappointing in her short program 24 hours previously.

A recent injury saw her shelve the quad toe loop she had planned for the start of her routine, but she impressed with triple Lutz-triple toe loop and triple flip-Euler-triple Salchow combinations.

There was even blood visible on her hand at the end of her skate, caused by her catching it on a blade.

The execution and difficulty of her jumps saw her post a score of 138.45, 10 points down on her season's best, but good enough for the lead with a total of 207.47.

Liu was the penultimate skater after winning yesterday's short program.

She fell on her opening triple Axel but soon regained her focus with a quad Lutz-triple toe loop combination followed by another quad Lutz.

While the difficulty of her jumps was the highest in the field, the execution was found wanting with both quad Lutzes and a later triple Axel adjudged as under-rotated.

Her score of 133.46 was only good enough for second in the free skate with her total of 204.65 placing her second overall.

The American told reporters afterwards, "I'm pretty happy. I feel like I could have done better but there's always improvements."

She also alluded to youthful exuberance perhaps getting the better of her in her choice of elements.

Liu said, "I think I should have only done one quad but I really wanted to go for it just for the fun of it.

"I really wanted to do two quad Lutzes and two triple Axels. And even though I didn't complete any of them well, I am glad that I attempted them." - Alysa Liu

Daria Usacheva, another Tutberidze pupil, was the last to skate but she failed to produce her best when it mattered most.

A hand down on a triple Salchow at the end of a combination was the most obvious error as she scored 130.22 for third in the free skate and third overall on 200.37.