2017 JGP Belarus Men’s Preview

With seven events in the Junior Grand Prix series, this event falls at the halfway point.  Still, the men competing here either did not score well enough at their first event to be in contention, or this is their first event of the season, so no one has set themselves up to be in contention for the Final.  For being so deep into the season, a large number of the competitors are making their international or JGP debuts, 12 of the 25 entrants.

Alexey Erokhov won bronze at JGP Japan last season, where he also scored over 200 points.  However, that is his only international competition to date and he finished just 5th at Russian nationals last season as a junior.  Scoring seems to be a little lower this season, and even scores in the 180s can land you on the podium, so if he can get even close to his performance last year, he should take home a medal.

Andrew Torgashev was a bit hot and cold last season.  After winning a silver on the Junior Grand Prix and a bronze medal as a senior on the Challenger Series at the Tallinn Trophy, he did not qualify for the free skate at Junior Worlds and finished 25th overall.  He has a personal best over 200 points as well, set last season in Russia.  He started his season with a 6th place finish at the Philadelphia Summer Classic as a senior, but also scored over 200 points at that event.  This will be his third season on the Junior Grand Prix, where he has only medaled once, but has never finished lower than 5th.

Irakli Maysuradze also had a bit of a rough end to his season, finishing 35th at Junior Worlds.  However, he placed 6th and 7th at his two JGP assignments, a big improvement over the 2015 season.  His best finish at Junior Worlds was 18th, so he definitely was not performing his best at the end of last season.

Jiri Belohradsky had two top ten finishes on the Junior Grand Prix last season and finished 20th at Europeans for each of the last two seasons.

Sihyeong Lee might be a bit of a dark horse at this event.  He had a rough start to his JGP season last year, finishing 17th in France, but rebounded with an 8th place finish in Russia.  While he finished 16th at Four Continents and Junior Worlds, he set new personal best scores at those events and flirted with the 200 point mark at Four Continents.

Igor Efimchuk is on the older side to be making his Junior Grand Prix debut, as he is 18 and in his last season of Junior eligibility.  He has four previous international experiences, competing once each of the last four seasons.  Despite his lack of experience, he did finish 3rd as a junior at Russian nationals last season.

Nicholas Hsieh is perhaps not a contender at this event, but someone to watch for the future.  He won the silver medal as an intermediate at US Nationals last season and has scored well enough at novice club competitions to earn a spot on the Junior Grand Prix, his first junior level event.  This is definitely a show of confidence in a young skater, as the other entrant from the US, Torgashev, competed as a senior last season nationally.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Alexey Erokhov

Silver: Andrew Torgashev

Bronze: Sihyeong Lee

 

Bios of the competitors:

James Min, AUS: He placed 29th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 9th at JGP Australia.  His personal best is 154.80.  He is 17 years old.

Larry Loupolover, AZE: He finished 36th at Worlds and 31st at Europeans.  He placed 17th at JGP Czech Republic last season.  His personal best is 180.22.  He is 18 years old.

Mikalai Kazlou, BLR

Yakau Zenko, BLR: He placed 33rd at Junior Worlds.  He finished 15th at JGP Latvia.  His personal best is 176.89.  He is 17 years old.

Vassil Dimitrov, BUL

Shuai Fang, CHN

Che Yu Yeh, TPE:

Jiri Belohradsky, CZE: He finished 20th at Europeans.  He placed 8th at JGP Czech Republic and 10th at JGP Slovenia last season.  His personal best is 181.62.  He is 18 years old.

Nikolaj Molgaard Pedersen, DEN: He placed 20th at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 111.81.  He is 18 years old.

Mihhail Selevko, EST: He finished 18th at JGP Latvia.  His personal best is 136.54.  He is 14 years old.

Julian Donica, FRA: This is his JGP debut.  He is 18 years old.

Irakli Maysuradze, GEO: He finished 35th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 6th at JGP Russia and 7th at JGP Estonia last season.  His personal best is 182.61.  He is 17 years old.

Tatsuya Tsuboi, JPN: This is his JGP debut.  He is 14 years old.

Rakhat Bralin, KAZ

Daniels Rosciks, LAT: He placed 25th at JGP Latvia.  His personal best is 103.92.  He is 17 years old.

Ryszard Gurtler, POL: He finished 41st at Junior Worlds.  He placed 19th at JGP Czech Republic last season.  His personal best is 129.10.  He is 18 years old.

Sihyeong Lee, KOR: He placed 16th at Four Continents and 16th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 17th at JGP France and 8th at JGP Russia last season.  His personal best is 195.72.  He is 16 years old.

Igor Efimchuk, RUS: This is his JGP debut.  He is 18 years old.

Alexey Erokhov, RUS: He won bronze at JGP Japan last season.  His personal best is 216.91.  He is 18 years old.

Gabriel Folkesson, SWE: This is his JGP debut.  He is 15 years old.

Alp Eren Ozkan, TUR

Yan Tkalich, UKR: He placed 18th at JGP Estonia last season.  His personal best is 134.53.  He is 17 years old.

Nicholas Hsieh, USA

Andrew Torgashev, USA: He finished 25th at Junior Worlds.  He won silver at JGP Russia and placed 4th at JGP Germany last season.  His personal best is 204.91.  He is 16 years old.

Azizmurod Shabazov, UZB