Young talent steps into the limelight at ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships

The best Junior Skaters step into the limelight at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships February 26 – March 3 in Taipei City (TPE) and provide a glimpse into Figure Skating’s future. A total of 187 Skaters/Couples representing 45 ISU Members have been entered for the Championships: 41 Junior Men, 46 Junior Women, 19 Junior Pairs and 31 Junior Ice Dance couples.

Overview of the competitors

Junior Men: New Kids on the Block to fight for top honors

With the top Junior Men having moved up to the senior level this season, it’s the turn of the new kids on the block to fight for the podium. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Rio Nakata (JPN) will compete in his first ISU World Junior Championship and nevertheless is a top contender with a seasons best of 227.77 points. After missing out on a medal at the recent Youth Olympic Games, the 15-year-old is eager to redeem himself in Taipei City.

Rio Nakata (JPN) Figure Skating Championships 2023 Nagano (JPN) ISU 1871832917

Rio Nakata (JPN) competes during the All Japan Figure Skating Championships 2023 in Nagano (JPN) @GettyImages

However, the competition will be tough. Adam Hagara (SVK) is aiming to continue his successful season that led him on to the podium at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final and the Youth Olympic Games so far. In his third appearance at the ISU World Junior Championships, he hopes to make history again by becoming the first Slovakian Skater to win a medal at an ISU Championship (seasons best 222.78 points). Minkyu Seo (KOR) comes with a seasons best of 231.30 points, the highest among the Junior Men, to Taipei and aims at the podium as well.

Minkyu Seo (KOR) ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2023  Istanbul (TUR) ISU 1653947126

Minkyu Seo (KOR) competes during the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2023 in Istanbul (TUR) @ISU

Others to watch include Arlet Levandi (EST), ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Francois Pitot (FRA) and Daniel Martynov (USA) as well as Japanese Junior Champion Shunsuke Nakamura.

Junior Women: Mao Shimada (JPN) going for gold again

Reigning ISU World Junior Champion Mao Shimada (JPN) leads the Junior Women and wants to continue her golden streak. The “new” Mao – named in honor of Japanese skating star Mao Asada – dominated on the Junior circuit again this season and mined gold at the Youth Olympic Games as well. She has the triple Axel and quad toe in her arsenal. Shimada travels with a seasons best of 213.86 points to Taipei.

Mao Shimada (JPN)  ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final Beijing (CHN) ISU 1839890384

Mao Shimada (JPN) celebrates during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Beijing (CHN) @ISU

Competition should come from two-time ISU World Junior silver medalist Jia Shin (KOR), who finished second to Shimada at the Junior Final and Youth Olympic Games (seasons best 201.33 points). ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Rena Uezono (JPN) is another top contender in her debut at the Junior World Championships (seasons best 196.46 points).

Shin Jia (KOR)  The Winter Youth Olympic Games, Gangwon 2024 Korea IOC 20242044655

Shin Jia (KOR) competes during the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024 in Gangwon (KOR). @IOC

Shin brings with her teammates, the Kim twins, Yujae and Yuseong that want to fight for the podium. Other contenders include Sarina Joos (ITA), Sherry Zhang (USA), Josephine Lee (USA) and  Inga Gurgenidze (GEO).

Junior Pairs: Metelkina/Berulava (GEO) the ones to beat

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anastasiia Metelkina/Luka Berulava (GEO) are the ones to beat in the Junior Pairs event. The Georgians also have a silver medal from the ISU European Championships under their belts and dominated the Junior events in their first season as a team. Metelkina/Berulava scored a seasons best of 202.11 points.

Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava (GEO) ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2024 Kaunas (LTU) ISU 1925559193

Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava (GEO) competes during the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2024 in Kaunas (LTU) @ISU

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Ava Kemp/Yohnatan Elizarov (CAN) have set their eyes on the podium and look to confirm their success from the Junior circuit (seasons best 168.83). Martina Ariano Kent/Charly Laliberte Laurent (CAN/seasons best 158.28) and 2023 ISU World Junior bronze medalists Violetta Sierova/Ivan Khobta (UKR/seasons best 153.77) are in the mix as well.

Ava Kemp and Yohnatan Elizarov (CAN),  Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava (GEO) and Jazmine Desrochers and Kieran Trasher (CAN) ISU Junior Grand Prix Final ISU 1842251363

Ava Kemp and Yohnatan Elizarov (CAN), Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava (GEO) and Jazmine Desrochers and Kieran Trasher (CAN) pose during the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in Beijing (CHN). @ISU

Also competing are ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Olivia Flores/Luke Wang (USA), Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer (USA) and Debora Anna Cohen/Lukas Vochozka (CZE).

Junior Ice Dance: Neset/Markelov (USA)

The Ice Dance competition promises to be exciting after all previous medalists have moved up to the senior level. Leah Neset/Artem Markelov (USA) have established themselves as the new leaders and struck gold in their ISU Junior events and the Junior Final this season. The team from Colorado Springs comes with a seasons best of 177.09 points to Taipei.

Leah Neset and Artem Markelov (USA)  ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2023 Beijing (CHN) ISU 1842134154

Leah Neset and Artem Markelov (USA) pose during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2023 in Beijing (CHN). @ISU

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Elizabeth Tkachenko/Alexei Kiliakov (ISR) are expected to compete for a medal again (seasons best 170.33 points). Following a successful ISU Junior Grand Prix season and the bronze medal at the Junior Final, Darya Grimm/Michail Savitskiy (GER) are aiming at the podium in Taipei (seasons best 159.41 points). The Israeli and German teams can become the first Ice Dance couples from their countries to win a medal at the ISU World Junior Championships.

Darya Grimm and Michail Savitski (GER) ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2023 Beijing (CHN) ISU 1839597718

Darya Grimm and Michail Savitski (GER) compete during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2023 in Beijing (CHN). @ISU

Other to watch include ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Celina Fradji/Jean-Hans Fourneaux (FRA) and Yahli Pedersen/Jeffrey Chen (USA) as well as Elliana and Ethan Peal (USA), Noemie Maria Tali/Noah Lafornara (ITA) and Sara Kishimoto/Atsuhiro Tamura (JPN). Angelina Kudryavtseva/Ilia Karankevich (CYP) return to competition after missing the first half of the season as she suffered an injury at their first ISU Junior Grand Prix event last fall.

Skaters/Couples need to have obtained a minimum total technical score in Short Program and Free Skating in order to compete at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

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 Belarussian 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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