Metelkina/Berulava (GEO) strike Junior World Pairs Gold in Taipei City

Anastasiia Metelkina/Luka Berulava (GEO) struck gold as the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships continued in Taipei City (TPE) with the Junior Pairs Free Skating. 

Metelkina/Berulava (GEO) take Junior Pairs crown

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anastasiia Metelkina/Luka Berulava of Georgia added the World Junior title to their already impressive resume. Olivia Flores/Luke Wang (USA) claimed the silver medal while their teammates Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer moved up from fourth place to earn the bronze medal.

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Anastasiia Metelkina/Luka Berulava (GEO), Pairs gold medalists at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei © ISU

Overnight leaders Metelkina/Berulava opened their performance to “The Millionaire Waltz” by Queen with a triple twist and completed difficult lifts as well as a level-four pair combination spin. However, the ISU European silver medalists struggled with the jumps. Metelkina missed the triple Salchow while Berulava stepped out of the triple toe.

The Georgians scored 107.79 points and were ranked first in the Free Skating and first overall at 179.32 points in what was their first Junior World appearance as a team. Berulava, who won the title in 2022 with Karina Safina, became the first man to win two World Junior titles with different partners.

“I am grateful to our coaches, to the Federation and my partner that we were able to win this competition. I made some errors, I’ll work on that,” Metelkina said. “We’ll work to improve the elements and work on the consistency.”

Berulava added: “I am not happy. I don’t know (what went wrong). This is sport, it is a casino. This competition was a lesson for us. We’ll go back home and work even harder.”

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Anastasiia Metelkina/Luka Berulava (GEO) skate to the Juior World Pairs title © ISU

Flores/Wang’s “Star Wars”-themed program included a triple twist, double Axel-single Axel-double Axel sequence as well as a throw triple Salchow. Flores fell only on the throw triple loop and stumbled on the side by side triple Salchow. The US Junior Champions netted 104.56 points for the Free Skating and totaled 166.89 points to claim the silver in their Junior World debut.

“It (to win a medal) means a lot,” Wang said. “Our coach was saying this event, it feels like the culmination of all of the hard work we put into the year and all of the lessons we’ve learned thus far. We take away a lot, a lot to learn and there is a lot to be happy about, no regrets.”

Flores said: “I’m just very excited and it is surreal to be here and definitely grateful. You know, you have hopes and you always want to do your best and sometimes that doesn’t happen.”

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Olivia Flores and Luke Wang (USA) pose with their silver medal in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei © ISU

Skating to “Miss Saigon”, Williams/Lewer landed a triple twist, throw double Salchow and loop as well two level-four lifts. However, Williams fell on a double Axel. The couple from Colorado Springs was ranked fourth in the Free Skating with 90.63 points but overall moved up to third to capture the bronze at 146.00 points. They had missed the ISU Junior Grand Prix after Williams suffered a foot injury.

“It’s such a relief to be here after the season we had, the ups and downs,” Lewer said. “Naomi did a great job to get back on the ice as quickly as she did. Her surgeon didn’t even think she was able to go to nationals (in January) so to go to nationals and then to come here is just such a huge accomplishment for all of us and I’m super proud of my partner.”

Williams added: “We train with Luke and Olivia every day, and we see how hard they work, and I’m really, really proud of them. Our goal in the season was obviously to compete in the Junior Grand Prix and in Junior Worlds, and after missing the first goal, it meant a lot to be here.”

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Naomi Williams and Lachlan Lewer (USA), who took Pairs bronze in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei © ISU

Irina Napolitana/Edoardo Comi (ITA) put out the third-best Free Skating of the night and moved up from seventh to fourth place at 143.88 points. Martina Ariano Kent/Charly Laliberte Laurent.(CAN) slipped from third to fifth on 141.26 points. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Ava Kemp/Yohnatan Elizarov (CAN) came sixth (140.67 points).

Louise Ehrhard/Matthis Pellegris (FRA) withdrew from the Pairs Free Skating citing injury. They stood in sixth place following the Short Program.

See the full results here.

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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