Minkyu Seo takes historic first Junior Men’s World title for Korea in Taipei

Minkyu Seo won a historic first Junior Men’s World title for Korea as competition wrapped up at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships Saturday in Taipei City (TPE). 

Minkyu Seo (KOR) makes history

Minkyu Seo won a historic first Junior Men’s medal for Korea and it was gold. In what was an exciting competition, Rio Nakata of Japan rose from fifth to claim the silver medal while Slovakian Adam Hagara made history as well by winning the bronze, the first ISU Championship Figure Skating medal for his country. 

Minkyo Seo

Gold medalist Minkyu Seo (KOR) at the Junior Men’s Free Skating at the ISU World Junior Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei © ISU

Seo had drawn to skate last out of the 24 Junior Men in the Final. He opened his dramatic performance to “Notre Dame de Paris” with a triple Axel-double toe combination, but then he popped the next Axel. 

The 15-year-old rallied back to produce six clean triple jumps and level-four spins. Seo scored 150.17 points and ranked second in the Free Skating segment, but overall held on to first place with 230.75 points.

Extra Minkyu

Gold medalist Minkyu Seo (KOR) at the Junior Men’s Free Skating World Junior Championships in Taipei City © ISU

“This is my first time at Junior Worlds and coming off with the gold is a huge success,” the ISU Junior Grand Prix Istanbul Champion said. “Coming here and winning is very meaningful for me. Before the Free Skating I wanted to do something great for my father who is at home and for my mother, who is cheering for me here. I made one mistake, but I managed to not drag it through the end of the program, and I am very happy with the result.” 

Skating to “Writing on the Wall” and “James Bond Theme”  Nakata went for a quadruple toeloop, but stepped out of it. But he remained as cool and collected as James Bond and went on to hit seven triple jumps including two Axels. 

Rio Nakata

Silver medalist Rio Nakata (JPN) at the Junior Men’s Free Skating at the ISU World Junior Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei © ISU

The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion won the Free Skating with 151.71 points and pulled up to second at 229.31 points. Like Seo, he made the Junior World podium in his debut at the event.

“I was disappointed about the Short Program when I missed my spin. I always don’t do well in my Short Program. When I came into the Free Skating I was so nervous,” Nakata shared. 

“After the Youth Olympic Games in January I felt a lot of regret and I was a bit angry at myself. Coming to Junior Worlds, I knew there are many good skaters, and in order to win a medal I had to try many things and to become a better skater,” he added.

Hagara stood in third following the Short Program and could dream of a medal. Skating to “Dream On” by Arrowsmith, he made this dream come true with a strong performance that featured eight triple jumps and difficult spins. The only glitch came when he stumbled on the back end of his triple Axel-double toe combination. 

THIs Adam Hagara

Bronze medalist Adam Hagara of Slovakia at the Junior Men’s Free Skating World Junior Championships in Taipei City © ISU

The Youth Olympic Games silver medalist earned 147.59 points and accumulated 225.61 points to remain in third place. It was Hagara’s fourth appearance at the ISU World Junior Championships. He had placed 33rd in his debut, then 21st and 14th a year ago.

“I am really happy about the bronze medal. I tried my best in the Short Program and Free Skating,” Hagara said. “It is a new experience for me to win the bronze medal at Junior Worlds and this medal means a lot to me. My hard work paid off and connecting into senior Worlds I want to take a few days off, then focus on senior Worlds and train hard.”

Shunsuke Nakamura (JPN) leaped from tenth place to fourth at 215.46 points. Francois Pitot (FRA) dropped from second to fifth after making errors on two jumps (214.95 points). Jaekeun Lee (KOR) moved up from 12th to sixth at 212.22 points. 

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. 

Organizer

Official Sponsors

Advisors

Executive Organizers

Partners

Contributors

Suppliers