Russia’s Sofia Akateva continued to push the limits in women’s skating becoming the first female Skater to perform a triple Axel and three clean quadruple jumps in one program. The Russian team once again was successful taking home eight out of 12 medals at the sixth ISU Junior Grand Prix event Baltic Cup in Gdansk (POL). Cyprus earned their first medal in the ISU Junior Grand Prix, a bronze. The remaining three medals went to Kazakhstan, the United States of America and the Republic of Korea.
Russia’s rising star Sofia Akateva once again set the bar very high and claimed her second ISU Junior Grand Prix title with 42 points to spare ahead of teammate Elizaveta Kulikova. Akateva won the Short Program with a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination and then dominated again in the Free Skating to “Mulan”, nailing another triple Axel, a quad toe-triple toe, quad Salchow and quad toe-Euler-triple Salchow combination – this time she performed these difficult elements cleaner than two weeks ago in Krasnoyarsk and became the first woman to land a triple Axel and three clean quads in one program. The 14-year-old racked up 225.64 points.
“I managed to skate cleaner in Poland, because I’ve worked with my coaches on the mistakes I made in Krasnoyarsk,” Akateva shared. “It also helped me that this was my second competition, I was less nervous. I don’t think about setting records. I just love what I’m doing and I love difficult jumps. It is nice that I was able to do something that I haven’t done before.”
Kulikova finished fourth in the Short Program after falling on her underrotated triple Lutz-triple toe combination. The 13-year-old rallied back in her Free Skating and delivered a strong program that included six clean triples to move up to second place at 183.44 points, edging Jia Shin (KOR) for silver. Shin ranked second following an excellent Short Program, but fell on a triple Lutz in the Free Skating (183.42 points). Kulikova and Shin won their first medals on the ISU Junior Grand Prix.
Gleb Lutfullin (RUS) celebrates second victory
Russia’s Gleb Lutfullin celebrated a second confident victory on the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Mikhail Shaidorov claimed silver for Kazakhstan, becoming the first Kazakh male skater since Denis Ten in 2008 to make a Junior Grand Prix podium. Egor Rukhin (RUS) settled for the bronze, his second medal on the circuit this season.
Lutfullin took the lead in the Short Program, although he stepped out of his triple flip. Performing to “Mala Luna” in the Free Skating, the 17-year-old pulled off a quad toe, quad Salchow-double toe, another quad Salchow as well as a triple Axel-Euler-triple Salchow combination to set new personal bests in the Free Skating with 155.20 points and in the total score with 231.06 points.
“I came here to enjoy my performances,” Lutfullin commented. “I kept my cool, I just had to go out and do calmly what I know to do and that’s it. I was not really nervous. I had to tune out and not to think about placements and that helped me. In Krasnoyarsk I had some errors in the Free Skating, and in Gdansk I wanted to improve my skating and I skated cleaner. Unfortunately, the flip in the Short was on two feet.”
Shaidorov ranked sixth in the Short Program as he slightly underrotated his triple Axel and received an edge call for his triple flip. The student of 1994 Olympic Champion Alexei Urmanov then delivered a strong Free Skating to “Once Upon a Time in America” that featured two quad toeloops and a triple Axel (207.03 points). Rukhin was second in the Short Program but slipped to third on 202.28 points after missing some jumps in the Free Skating.