(March 4, 2003)
Canadian skaters turned in solid performances in both the free dance and the Ladies free program at the 2003 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.
In the Dance event, the 2003 Canadian Junior Dance Champions, Melissa Piperno and Liam Dougherty, skated a very strong program to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack to finish in tenth-place overall. Piperno and Dougherty had been tenth-place overall after the first two components of the competition, the compulsory dances and the original dance, but they impressed the judges with their innovative free dance, and were placed ninth in that portion of the event.
The judges rewarded Piperno and Dougherty for their efforts in the free dance. They received marks ranging from 4.7 to 5.1 for technical merit and 4.8 up to 5.5 for presentation.
The new World Junior Dance Champions are Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia. The Russians impressed the judges, who awarded them marks ranging from 5.3 to 5.8 for technical merit and 5.5 to 5.9 for presentation.
Also making it to the podium was the Hungarian team of Nora Hoffmann and Attila Elek, who took home the silver medal, and Elena Romanovskaya and Alexander Grachev, also of Russia, who captured the bronze medal.
The Ladies free program was also an exciting event. Canada sent three entries to this competition, and the 2003 Canadian Junior Ladies Champion, Meagan Duhamel, was the top Canadian, placing 13th.
Signe Ronka and Amanda Billings also made the trip to Ostrava, Czech Republic. Ronka finished the competition in 16th-place, and Billings placed 17th.
The gold medal went to Japan's Yukina Ota. Ota, who was in second-place following the short program, skated an almost flawless free skate that included two triple Lutzes, one of which was in combination with a double toe loop.
Taking home the silver was Miki Ando, who is also from Japan. Ando, who became the first female skater ever to land a quadruple jump in competition when she landed a quadruple Salchow at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in December 2002, also performed strongly. She attempted to land a quadruple Salchow, but the jump was overrotated and Ando wasn't able to hold a clean edge on the landing of the jump.
Rounding out the medal podium was Italy's Carolina Kostner, who was in first-place after the short program, but was placed third overall after the free skate.