JGP Croatia Men’s Preview

This is the big event for qualifying for the Junior Grand Prix Final with 9 skaters vying for spots.

Nathan Chen holds the highest scores of the season in the short program, free skate and total score, without two triple axels or a quad like some of the other top men have been landing.  Despite his young age, he has lots of competitive experience and nerves don’t seem to be a factor for him.  He’s remarkably consistent and if he repeats his performance from Austria, he should easily repeat for gold here.  A 4th or 5th place finish will keep him in the running for the Final but he needs at least a bronze to guarantee himself a spot.

Alexander Samarain and Jin Seo Kim both won bronze medals in their JGP debuts.  They need a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final but would need a major mistake by Chen or a drastic increase in their personal bests to challenge him.  For Samarin, a silver medal with a score of at least 184.43 will keep him in the running while a bronze medal will likely not be enough.  Kim needs a silver with a score of 191.59 to give himself the best possible chance of making the Final.

Petr Coufal, Harrison Choate and Michael Christian Martinez all have 4th place finished this season and a gold medal finish here could punch their ticket to the Final but it’s likely to be a tall order for them to accomplish in this field.

Han Yan and Sei Kawahara can put themselves on the bubble with a gold medal and Han Yan has the best chance of doing so if he can recover from his disappointing showing in Slovenia and regain the form that won him the World Junior title.

The wild card in this event is Maxim Kovtun of Russia who won two medals on the JGP last season to qualify for the Final where he finished just off the podium.  He kicks off his season here and will compete again next week in Germany.  Two silver medals or a gold and bronze will guarantee him a spot in the Final.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver: Maxim Kovtun
Bronze: Alexander Samarin

Bios of the competitors:
Slavik Hayrapetyan, ARM: He placed 18th in the preliminary round at Worlds, 28th at Europeans and 26th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 18th at JGP Latvia and 14th at JGP Romania last season.  His personal best is 128.97.  He is 16 years old.

David Kranjec, AUS: He placed 12th at JGP Croatia.   His personal best is 138.41.  He is 18 years old.

Pavel Ignatenko, BLR: He placed 30th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 7th at JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 155.08.  He is 17 years old.

Luiz Manella, BRA: He placed 22nd at Four Continents and 16th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 7th at JGP Italy last season.  His personal best is 162.53.  He is 17 years old.

Iassen Petkov, BUL: He placed 11th at JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 136.61.  He is 18 years old.

Mitchell Gordon, CAN: He placed 8th at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 162.62.  He is 16 years old.

Han Yan, CHN: He is the reigning Junior World Champion.  He placed 5th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 222.45.  He is 16 years old.


Petr Coufal, CZE: He placed 17th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 4th at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 175.72.  He is 17 years old.


Panagiotis Polizoakis, GER: He placed 11th at JGP France.  His personal best is 135.08.  He is 17 years old.


Sei Kawahara, JPN: He placed 5th at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 170.41.  He is 16 years old.


Michael Christian Martinez, PHI: He placed 15th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 4th at JGP USA.  His personal best is 165.10.  He is 15 years old.



Chih-I Tsao, TPE: He finished 23rd at Junior Worlds.  He placed 11th at JGP USA.  His 
personal best is 133.24.  He is 14 years old.

Steven Spencer Baker, CRO: This is his international debut.

Mislav Blagojevic, CRO: This is his JGP debut.

Petar Cetinic, CRO: This is his international debut.

Tino Olenius, FIN: This is his JGP debut.  His personal best is 127.12.  He is 16 years old.


Lap Kan Yuen, HKG: He placed 24th at JGP Italy last season.  His personal best is 84.93.  He is 16 years old.

Kristof Forgo, HUN: His personal best is 98.55.  He is 18 years old.

Carlo Vittorio Palermo, ITA: This is his JGP debut.  His personal best is 125.55.  He is 16 years old.

Jin Seo Kim, KOR: He won bronze at JGP Slovenia.  His personal best is 175.87.  He is 15 years old.

Maxim Kovtun, RUS: He won gold at JGP Romania and silver at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the JGPF where he placed 4th.  His personal best is 193.76.  He is 17 years old.

Alexander Samarin, RUS: He won bronze at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 183.03.

Nicky Obreykov, SWE: This is his JGP debut.  He is 16 years old.

Osman Akgun, TUR: He placed 16th in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds.  He finished 13th at JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 131.15.  He is 16 years old.

Nathan Chen, USA: He won gold at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 222.00.  He is 13 years old.

Harrison Choate, USA: He placed 4th at JGP France.  His personal best is 169.70.  He is 18 years old.