Press Release

Ovcharova grabs lead in ladies short

Murakami second; Agafonova third

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani are ready to show off a lighter side of their personalities.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani are ready to show off a lighter side of their personalities. (Michelle Harvath)

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(03/13/2010) - Anna Ovcharova of Russia grabbed the lead in the ladies short program, closely followed by Japan's Kanako Murakami. Polina Agafonova of Russia came third.

Skating to jazzy music from the Russian movie The Hipster, Ovcharova hit a triple flip out of footwork, a triple Lutz-double loop combination, a double Axel and earned a level four for her difficult spins. The 14-year-old posted a new personal-best score of 59.80 points (36.20 element score/23.60 program component score). "I felt very nervous today and I didn't believe my eyes, when my score was so high. I'm really glad about this," an excited Ovcharova told the press. "I wanted to do everything in this competition for my short program and I did."

Murakami went for a triple toe-triple toe combination in her expressive Flamenco program, but the second jump was downgraded. She continued with a triple flip, a double Axel and also got a level four for her three spins and a level three for the footwork. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion scored 59.00 points (34.60/24.40)."I am disappointed with my jump combination, because it was downgraded. However, the other elements were better than in practice," 15-year-old Murakami said. "This competition was my target for the season, and it's still like a dream to be here", she added.

Agafanova, a tiny 14-year old, impressed with her spins, especially with her beautiful layback spin, but also nailed a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and a double Axel to pick up a personal best of 56.28 points (34.28/22.00). "I didn't expect at all such a high placement, after all I'm for the first time at this competition. Basically I skated a good program and I did everything I can do," Agafonova said. "I changed my Short Program (after the Junior Grand Prix series), because both my programs turned out to be rather serious and I wanted to show a different style."

Kate Charbonneau (CAN) finished fourth at 53.80 points. She gave a solid performance. Kiri Baga (USA) is sitting in fifth place after stumbling on both the triple flip and the double Axel (52.28 points). Joshi Helgesson (SWE) completes the top six (52.10 points).

Ilinykh/Katsalapov (RUS) dance to gold
Russia's Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov danced to the gold medal in what was a high-level ice dance competition. Canadians Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam took the silver medal and Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin of Russia captured the bronze. All three couples debuted at the ISU World Junior Championships.

Ilinykh/Katsalapov gave a spellbinding performance of their program to Schindler's List. Their difficult step sequences and lifts looked effortless, and all elements earned a Level 4 and positive grades of execution. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists collected 90.82 points (44.60 element score/46.22 program component score), setting a new personal best for themselves, and overall accumulated 188.28 points to win the title.

"It is so exciting for us. I never thought that we would win junior worlds," Ilinykh said. "The theme of our free dance is actually very serious. The theme is the war, concentration camps and I am playing the role of (Oskar) Schindler, and I'm saving Elena", Katsalapov explained.

Paul/Islam produced a fast paced Persian dance named "Sheherazade", that was highlighted by interesting lifts. The Canadians had a Level 4 for the lifts and the spin and a Level 3 for the footwork. They scored 83.15 points (41.50/41.65), improving their previous personal best significantly, and racked up a total of 172.37 points.

"It's been a really good week for Alex and I. We've been training for this. We laid down three really good skates, three personal bests. We couldn't be more proud of ourselves," Islam said.

Monko/Khaliavin's powerful Blues program to "It's a Man's World", featured strong twizzles and lifts, but their circular footwork was graded only a level two. With 81.09 points (39.80/41.29), the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions were ranked fifth in the free dance but overall held on to the bronze at 168.81 points.

"Our performance today was far from ideal, the dompulsory and original dance went better for us. Today we made some mistakes, but overall it was decent. It was as successful season for us", Khaliavin commented.

2009 world junior silver medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) turned in strong dance to "Tango Rhapsody" but missed the podium by less than one point (168.35 points). Lorenza Alessandrini/Simone Vaturi (ITA) also were edged out of the podium by less than one point to finish fifth (167.84 points). They had skated a passionate Tango routine. Ekaterina Pushkash/Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS) came fifth with a romantic "Romeo and Juliet" program (162.18).