JGP Turkey represents last chance for some

Skater can still qualify for JGP Final in Turkey

Austin Kanallakan of the U.S. is one of the men who should make a run for gold in Turkey.
Austin Kanallakan of the U.S. is one of the men who should make a run for gold in Turkey. (Michelle Harvath)


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By Mickey Brown, special to
(10/12/2009) - Skaters will have their last chance to qualify for the 2009 Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final at the JGP stop this week in Istanbul, Turkey. The dance event in Istanbul figures to be the most competitive, with three teams in the field having JGP gold medals to their credit.

Yuki Nishino of Japan took the silver three weeks ago in Belarus, and she also has two JGP golds and a bronze medal at the JGP Final (all in 2007) on her resume. She'll be challenged by a couple Americans, reigning U.S. novice champion Kiri Baga, who won the gold in her JGP debut two weeks ago in Germany, and reigning U.S. junior bronze medalist Christina Gao, who placed third at JGP Poland. Russia's Ekaterina Kozireva came in fifth at JGP Germany and won the bronze medal at JGP Romania in 2006. Irina Reitmayerova of Slovakia has not had much success on the JGP circuit, with her best finish being sixth last season at JGP Italy, but she placed 11th at the 2009 European Figure Skating Championships and 14th at the 2009 Worlds Figure Skating Championships.

The men's event is the most wide open of the three, with no clear favorite among the skaters in the field. American Austin Kanallakan won the silver last month in Poland, the sixth JGP medal of his career, not counting the silver he won at the 2006 JGP Final. Kento Nakamura of Japan earned the silver at JGP Lake Placid and placed fourth in juniors at the 2009 Japanese Championships. Russia's Stanislav Kovalev claimed the bronze in Belarus, while Joshua Farris, the reigning U.S. novice champion, placed fourth at JGP Lake Placid.

Two Russian teams will battle it out for supremacy in Turkey. Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin captured the gold at JGP Belarus, and they also own bronze medals from three other JGPs. Ekaterina Pushkash and Jonathan Guerreiro placed first at JGP Germany in their competitive debut together. Also making a bid for a podium spot are Ukrainians Alisa Agafonova and Dmitri Dun, who have won five medals in the JGP Series, including bronze three weeks ago in Belarus; Americans Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello, the bronze medalists at JGP Poland; and Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Canada, who came in fourth in Poland.