Metelkina/Berulava (GEO) dominate in Pairs Short Program at ISU World Junior Championships

Hot favorites Anastasiia Metelkina/Luka Berulava (GEO) skated to a commanding lead as the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships opened Wednesday in Taipei City (TPE) with the Junior Pairs Short Program. 

Metelkina/Berulava (GEO) poised for gold after Short Program

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anastasiia Metelkina/Luka Berulava of Georgia continued their dominance in the junior ranks and won the Short Program with nine points to spare ahead of Olivia Flores/Luke Wang (USA) and Canadians Martina Ariano Kent/Charly Laliberte Laurent.

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Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava (GEO) take a strong lead in the Junior Pairs Short Program at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei © ISU

Skating to the upbeat song “Summertime” by Billy Stewart, Metelkina/Berulava produced a triple twist, throw triple loop, double Axel and earned a level four for the twist, lift, death spiral and side by side spin. The ISU European silver medalists achieved a personal best of 71.53 points.

“We feel really good and we are happy that we were able to improve our score a little bit. We will continue to work,” Berulava said. “Actually, for me competing in Juniors is harder than at the senior level because of the double Axel”, he added. At the junior level, Pair Skaters perform a side by side double jump that changes every season or a double Axel.

“I’ve actually competed a senior Worlds before, but every competition is really nice and you feel the support,” Metelkina explained. “For us, the competition is a celebration, and I really want to thank the organizers for this opportunity, because not everybody gets that.”

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Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava (GEO) © ISU

Flores/Wang’s performance to “Once Upon a December” featured a triple twist, a throw triple loop and double Axel. Four elements were rated a level four. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists improved their personal best significantly with their score of 62.33 points.

“We feel just so fresh, not knowing really what to expect in our first Junior Worlds, so (we’re) just trying to have a lot of fun,” Wang said and continued in Mandarin: “I want to say thank you to the Taiwanese Skating Union (Chinese Taipei Skating Union), thank you to the Taiwanese fans who came and watched today. We took so much energy from them and we couldn’t do it without the help and the support from the Federation and from the fans.”

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Olivia Flores and Luke Wang (USA), who sit in second place © ISU

Ariano Kent/Laliberte Laurent completed a double Axel and throw triple loop in their routine to “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)”. However, their triple twist was flawed and received the base level. The Canadians earned 55.67 points.  

“I felt really good about it (the performance). It was like a lot better than how we were doing in practice, so I was really happy that we were able to improve and do a good performance,” Ariano Kent told the press.

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Canada’s Martina Ariano Kent and Charly Laliberte Laurent © ISU

Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer (USA) are less than half a point behind in fourth place at 55.37 points while ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Ava Kemp/Yohnatan Elizarov (CAN) are ranked fifth after Kemp stumbled on the double Axel (54.86 points). Louise Ehrhard/Matthis Pellegris (FRA) placed sixth on 50.75 points.

The International Skating Union (ISU) has supported the Skating Federation of Ukraine since the start of the war, implementing ISU Communication 2469, and also granting financial support to assist Ukrainian Skaters. The ISU reiterates its sympathy for and solidarity to all affected by the War in Ukraine. The ISU maintains its condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. The ISU Council met on June 9-11, 2023 and discussed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendations of March 28, 2023 for International Federations on the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions.The ISU Council decided to explore the feasibility issues with regard to potential pathways to implement the IOC recommendations within ISU Sports.The Council will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and its impact on the ISU activity as well as the decisions and their implementation within the Olympic Movement. In the meantime, ISU Communication 2469 remains in force.

Schedule of the event

The schedule of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships is as follows:

Wednesday, February 28:        Junior Pairs & Junior Women’s Short Programs
Thursday, February 29:            Junior Men’s Short Program, Junior Pairs Free Skating
Friday, March 1:                       Junior Rhythm Dance & Junior Women’s Free Skating
Saturday, March 2:                   Junior Free Dance & Junior Men’s Free Skating
Sunday, March 3:                     Exhibition Gala

For full entries and results, please see the ISU event page and the official website. Follow the discussion on social media using #WorldJuniorFigure and #FigureSkating. 

Where to watch the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2024:

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships will be live streamed on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. Geo-restrictions will apply in markets where TV rights are in place. You will find the full list in the Where to Watch news here.

Subscribe to the Skating ISU YouTube Channel to receive alerts when the live streams start and when new videos are posted. 

(Source: ISU Skating News)


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