Winnipeg pair places sixth in world junior figure skating championship debut


The Winnipeg pair of Ava Kemp and Yohnatan Elizarov placed sixth in their world junior figure skating championship debut.

Kemp and Elizarov, who performed their free skate in Calgary on Thursday night, scoring 93.15 points from the judges and finished with an overall score of 149.03, a personal best by almost 20 points.

They were sitting in fifth place after Wednesday’s short program.

“It’s mixed emotions for us,’’ Kemp, 14, told reporters. ‘’There were some things we were working on that (we) could have done better. We were a bit surprised with the score but really happy about it.’’

Sophia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev of the U.S. won the gold medal in pairs with 184.47 points, followed by Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore of Australia in second at 170.36, and Violetta Sierova and Ivan Khobta of Ukraine in third at 159.39.

The American couple skated under unusual and emotionally trying circumstances after their coach, Todd Sand, former Olympian and three-time world pair medallist, was hospitalized early Thursday morning after suffering a heart attack in Calgary.

The Australian and Ukrainian couples are slated to compete again in two weeks at the senior world championships in Saitama, Japan.

Kemp and Elizarov opened Thursday with an impressive triple-twist lift, delivered high-scoring lifts and solid solo triple salchow jumps. Kemp fell on the throw triple-salchow and struggled to hold the landing of the jump combination.

“We’re both perfectionists, so every time we finish a program we’re always, like, ‘What could we have done better?’ We were talking about the (throw) salchow. We made a mistake on that, but it’s a difficult element so we’re not too upset about it,” said Elizarov, 19.

“I think that’s what makes us a really good pair because we’re both super intense and super analytical.”

The Winnipeggers will enjoy a short holiday after a long season that began in early fall with Grand Prix competitions in Europe. Full-on training for next season will begin in June.

— Staff