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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

JGP Mexico Men's Preview

This is an inexperienced field of skaters with six making their international debut and an additional five making their JGP debut.  Of the remaining 9 skaters, only three have won medals on the JGP circuit.  

Nathan Chen has had a storied career already at the young age of 14.  He has won three national titles and medaled at nationals over six consecutive seasons in four levels.  He made his much anticipated JGP debut last season and won gold at his first event with a score that was still in the top 24 season's best by the end of the season.  However, he had to withdraw from his 2nd event due to injury after the short program and struggled for the rest of the season and even failed to defend his junior national title.  Still, he has a 20 point advantage over this field and can afford to make a few mistakes and still land on top of the podium.  He had been working on a triple axel prior to his injuries and if he includes that here it could give him a huge edge.

Challenging him for the top spot will be Ryuju Hino of Japan.  He won two medals on the JGP circuit last season and went on to medal at the JGPF.  His score at the Final was impressive, nearly topping the 200 point mark, but he scored nearly 30 points lower at Junior Worlds and managed only a 10th place finish.  

Nam Nguyen is training with Brian Orser alongside some of the top skaters in the world, including Javier Fernandez and Yuzuru Hanyu.  He's long been touted as one of Canada's up and coming talents but hasn't quite lived up to the hype yet.  He had trouble getting started last season but rebounded to win a bronze medal at his second JGP event.  He did show some improvement at Junior Worlds, but still managed only a 12th place finish.  

Other skaters to watch for are Andrei Lazukin who finished 7th in Austria last season and Sei Kawahara who placed 5th and 8th at his two assignments.

Tomoki Hiwatshi could make a run for the podium here.  He has won three US national titles at three different levels and at just 13, is eligible for international competition for the first time.  When he won the novice men's title last year, he completed four triple jumps in his free skate but only attempted triple toes and salchows.  He'll need a bigger arsenal to compete with the top talent here but his artistry might keep him in the mix.  Another young name to keep an eye on is Daniel Samohin who won the pewter medal at US Nationals as a novice but is now competing for Israel.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver: Ryuju Hino
Bronze: Nam Nguyen

Bios of the competitors:
Nam Nguyen, CAN: He placed 12th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 9th at JGP France and won bronze at JGP Turkey last season.  His personal best is 172.58.  He is 15 years old.

Meng Ju Lee, TPE: This is his JGP debut.  He is 17 years old.

Charles Tetar, FRA: He placed 7th at JGP France and 7th at JGP Slovenia last season.  His personal best is 156.43.  He is 18 years old.

Graham Newberry, GBR: This is his JGP debut.  He is 15 years old.

Lap Kan Yuen, HKG: He placed 20th at JGP Croatia last season.  His personal best is 84.93.  He is 17 years old.

Daniel Samohin, ISR: This is his international debut.  He is 15 years old.

Ryuju Hino, JPN: He placed 10th at Junior Worlds.  He won bronze at JGP France and silver at JGP Austria last season to qualify for the JGP Final where he won bronze.  His personal best is 198.92.  He is 18 years old.  

Sei Kawahara, JPN: He placed 5th at JGP Austria and 8th at JGP Croatia last season.  His personal best is 170.41.  He is 17 years old.

Zhen Feng Chan, MAS: This is his JGP debut.  He is 18 years old.

David Bosquez, MEX: This is his international debut.  He is 18 years old.

Donavan Carillo, MEX: This is his international debut.  He is 13 years old.

Eduardo Luna, MEX: This is his international debut.  He is 18 years old.

June Hyoung Lee, KOR: He finished 17th at Four Continents and 13th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 5th at JGP USA and 9th at JGP Turkey last season.  His personal best is 176.48.  He is 16 years old.

Alexei Genia, RUS: This is his international debut.  He is 13 years old.

Andrei Lazukin, RUS: He placed 7th at JGP Austria last season.  His personal best is 163.27.  He is 15 years old.

Ancio Van Tonder, RSA: This is his JGP debut.  He is 15 years old.

John-Olof Hallman, SWE: This is his JGP debut.  His personal best is 120.12.  He is 16 years old.

Vincent Cuerel, SUI: He placed 20th at JGP France last season.  His personal best is 102.15.  He is 17 years old.

Nathan Chen, USA: He won gold at JGP Austria last season.  His personal best is 222.00.  He is 14 years old.

Tomoki Hiwatshi, USA: This is his international debut.  He is 13 years old.

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