The third event of the Series, 2021 JGP Slovakia, will take place in Košice, Sep. 1-4. This city last hosted a Junior Grand Prix eight years ago, where Karen Chen and Keiji Tanaka reigned as singles champions. Košice will host the first of the four pairs events in the Series.
This competition has by far the most entries with a total of 76 skaters/teams currently scheduled to take the ice: 23 men, 27 women, 11 pairs and 15 ice dance teams. As with the first two events, there are a lot of new names in the line-ups along with those who have previous experience.
On Sep. 1, the Japan Skating Federation announced it will not field any skaters to any Junior Grand Prix competitions this season due to the quarantine requirements when returning home. China is also not fielding skaters to competitions at this time.
Russia has four entries currently listed for the men′s event, three of whom have no international experience. Ilia Yablokov, 17, who is coached by Victoria Butsaeva (Volchkova), is the exception (this is his second season on the junior circuit). Fourth at the 2021 Russian junior championships, Yablokov has a quad toe and a triple Axel in his arsenal. Canada′s Corey Circelli will be aiming for two solid performances after narrowly missing the podium at his first Junior Grand Prix in Courchevel. Younghyun Cha, 17, of South Korea is returning for a fourth season on the junior circuit.
In the women′s field, a high percentage of the competitors will be making their Junior Grand Prix debuts, including four from Russia: Sofia Muravieva, Adeliia Petrosian, Mariia Zakharova and Veronika Zhilina. Zakharova is the daughter of Anna Tsareva, the former coach of Anna Pogorilaya. Chaeyeon Kim of South Korea who claimed silver at the second JGP in Courchevel could be the dark horse.
Of the 11 teams scheduled for the pairs competition, Russia has three entered. Chances are that Kseniia Akhanteva and Valerii Kolesov will twirl away with the title in this largely inexperienced field. There are no U.S. teams in the line-up. Canada′s Meghan Fredette and William St-Louis will make their JGP debut at this competition. The team is coached by 2008 Canadian pairs champions Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay.
The battle for medals in the ice dance discipline will likely be between the two veteran teams in the field: Russia′s Sofya Tyutyunina and Alexander Shustitskiy and Natalie D′Alessandro and Bruce Waddell of Canada. Both teams scored podium finishes on the Junior Grand Prix circuit in 2019.
Changes to the Junior Grand Prix rosters are likely given the entry restrictions of some countries with respect to quarantine and vaccine recognition.