Ukraine wins the first medal in 8 years at figure skating Junior Worlds

March 8,2023 844
Ukraine wins the first medal in 8 years at figure skating Junior Worlds

Ukrainians Violetta Sierova, 16, and Ivan Khobta, 19, won bronze for pair skating at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, which finished on Monday in Calgary, Canada. According to the International Skating Union, it is the first medal for Ukraine in eight years at Junior World and in 23 years in pairs.

The Sophia Baram/Daniel Tioumentsev pair of the United States took the top of the podium, followed by Australia’s Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore.

Sierova/Khobta’s performance to “Halo” by Beyonce included an excellent triple twist, level-four lifts, throw double loop and Lutz, as well as a side by side double Salchow.

“We feel all the support of the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, and that gave us strength. We hope to do our best in our next competition. This Junior Worlds was very important for us and our country,” Khobta said

The couple has relocated to Germany because of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.

Says Renata Roman, UWC World Sport Committee Chair:

“This was a long journey from their hometown and skating club in Kyiv. When the [full-scale] war started in Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022, arrangements had to be made to move them to another training facility. They found their new training center in Chemnitz, Germany, where they practiced with their coach Filip Zalevski for 3-4 hours daily. They have competed at the Junior Grand Prix circuit, where they placed 5th. They also competed in European championships and presently are the only pair team representing Ukraine.

“Their Canadian journey started in Toronto and Oakville, where two families welcomed them for two weeks. Canadian coach Bruno Marcotte invited them to train at his club’s rink – Skate Oakville – a few months ago, and this proved to be very helpful as it allowed them to adjust to the time change. Here they met fellow friends and competitors from Canada and Japan. They trained on and off the ice for 3-4 hours daily. They enjoyed some Canadian traditions, such as visiting Niagara Falls, the CN Tower and the Aquarium.

“Violetta and Ivan’s short program was sited to the song “Vesna” by VV and completed with Ukrainian-themed outfits. Here they placed 4th in the competition. The long program was skated to “Halo” by Beyoncé, very lyrical in nature. Here they skated their best program this season and placed third. They were thrilled and excited and thanked Ukraine, their teams in Kyiv and others. After being awarded the medal, they wrapped themselves in the Ukrainian flag for photos. A surprise appearance by the stuffed toy dog Patron which was given to Violetta for her recent birthday here in Canada.

“We at the UWC sports committee wish them all the best as they head off to Japan for the senior completion in a few weeks. They are doing a great job representing Ukraine, wearing blue and yellow jackets and skating to Ukrainian music.”

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