Figure Skating

Sofya Akatyeva and Evgeni Semenenko clinch Russian junior figure skating championship titles 

Semenenko build on short program lead to claim junior men's victory at the national championships, as Akatyeva overhauls Muraveva for the ladies' win, exactly a year before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic

By Sanjeev Palar ·

Sofya Akatyeva and Evgeni Semenenko topped the free skate in their respective categories on Thursday (4th February) to clinch the junior men's and junior ladies titles at the Russian Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Akatyeva included two quadruple jumps in her free skate to finish the session with 147.20 points, which was enough to take victory at the Ice Arena in Krasnoyarsk, with an overall score of 220.00 points.

Adeliya Petrosian was second, on 211.87 points.

Sofia Muraveva, who had a slim lead after the short program 24 hours earlier, finished third, with an overall score of 208.13 points.

Akatyeva got off to a strong start, opening with a quadruple toeloop and double toeloop combination. However her second quadruple jump attempt saw her put a hand on the ice and she subsequently fell on her triple Axel attempt.

Despite these mistakes, the 13-year-old, under the tutelage of Eteri Tutberidze, who coached Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva to Olympic gold and silver respectively at PyeongChang 2018, still delivered a solid free skate to top the session and take overall victory.

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Petrosian had a clean skate which started off with a double Axel and included a triple Lutz and double toeloop combination. Her routine was definitely lacking the technical difficulty of Akatyeva which was reflected in her free skate score of 139.23 points. However with an overall score of 211.87 points, it was enough to secure her second spot.

Wednesday's leader Muraveva opened her free skate program with a triple Salchow followed by a triple Lutz and triple toeloop combination. However, the second part of her routine was not as smooth and she ended up with 135.16 points. Her combined score of 208.13 points was enough to claim the final medal on offer.

Sofia Samodelkina was another skater who included quad jumps in her routine, however she did not land her opening quadruple Salchow cleanly and although she pulled off a quadruple Salchow and double toeloop combination, a messy second half of her program saw her just miss out on making the podium by less than a point with an overall score of 207.64 points.

Junior ladies top ten overall results

*free skate scores in parenthesis

  1. Sofya AKATYEVA – 220.00 (147.20)
  2. Adeliya PETROSIAN –211.87 (139.23)
  3. Sofia MURAVEVA – 208.13 (135.16)
  4. Sofia SAMODELKINA – 207.64 (136.27)
  5. Elizaveta BERESTOVSKAYA –199.11 (127.83)
  6. Anna FROLOVA – 190.54 (122.44)
  7. Elizaveta OSOKINA – 190.50 (123.53)
  8. Maria PARAMONOVA – 189.93 (125.79)
  9. Polina SVIRIDENKO - 187.23(123.79)
  10. Ksenia TSIBINOVA – 185.97 (118.74)

Earlier in the day, Semenenko topped the free skate to claim the junior men's title.

The 17-year-old built on his slim lead after the short program with the best free skate score of 160.24 points to clinch the title in Krasnoyarsk with an overall score of 247.37 points.

Alexander Golubev finished second with 236.58 points, overall while Egor Rukhim completed the podium with an overall score of 235.71 points.

Evgeny Semenenko - Photo credit Mihail Sharov

Semenenko was the final skater in the final junior men's group at the Ice Arena, and opened his routine strongly with a quadruple toeloop.

He managed to skate cleanly in a routine that included a triple Axel and triple toeloop combination. On a day when most of his closest rivals fell on ice, Semenenko skated nearly error-free to emerge victorious.

It's a great confidence boost for the student of Tatiana and Alexei Mishin out of St. Petersburg, who seemed a little overwhelmed when he competed at the senior level competition in December and only managed an 11th place finish.

Russia's Evgeni Semenenko in action during the free skate 

Golubev, who was sixth after the short program, rose to second place thanks to a very good free skate. He managed to record the session's second-highest score of 156.40 points. The result is a vast improvement on his 11th place finish from last year's competition.

Third place Rukhin was the third-best skater in the free skate with a score of 154.70 points. Having had to withdraw from last year's competition due to injury, Rukhin's free skate was good enough to see him clinch the last step of the podium after placing sixth in the short program.

Both Ilya Yablokov and Artyom Kovalev who were podium potentials after the short program, fell during their free skate as did two-time reigning champion Daniil Samsonov who finished seventh overall.

Junior men's top ten overall results

*free skate scores in parenthesis

  1. Evgeny SEMENENKO - 247.37 (160.24)
  2. Alexander GOLUBEV - 236.58 (156.40)
  3. Egor RUKHIN - 235.71 (154.70)
  4. Ilya YABLOKOV - 234.24 (148.86)
  5. Nikolay UGOZHAEV - 228.41 (152.14)
  6. Vladislav DIKIDZHI - 228.02 (153.89)
  7. Daniil SAMSONOV - 226.20 (142.80)
  8. Kirill SARNOVSKY - 225.02 (146.34)
  9. Artyom KOVALEV - 223.27 (138.26)
  10. Andrey KUTOVOY - 217.07 ( 141.24)

Top skaters from this event could be ones to keep an eye on at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which start in exactly one year.