Junior World Challenge Cup 2014, Neuchatel

The 2014 Junior World Challenge Cup gets under way in Neuchatel, Switzerland, this week, with the draw on 6 March and the skating on 7 and 8 March. The event runs alongside the Neuchatel Trophy for seniors, and is being streamed live. Teams are out there for practice sessions from 4 March.

This year 19 teams are taking part in the JWCC, the world championship event for junior synchronized skating this year. Great Britain is represented by Nottingham Icicles, who will be striving to break past the Swiss and French entries to get higher than the 15th place that British teams have achieved over the past two world championships (first by Wight Jewels in 2012 and then Icicles in 2013). With the top five countries each having two entries, there is an established hierarchy that is tough to break: their teams plus those of Gemany, France, Italy and Switzerland tend to dominate the top 14 places. British synchro teams, however, have been snapping at the heels of the French and Swiss for a couple of years, and it’s only a matter of time and training to catch them.

For the championships, teams are identified by country: Icicles, for example, are Team Great Britain. The entries are:

Team Austria: Sweet Mozart
Team Belgium: Temptation
Team Canada 1: Les Supremes
Team Canada 2: Les Pirouettes
Team Czech Republic: Kometa
Team Finland 1: Fintastic
Team Finland 2: Musketeers
Team France: Black Diam’s
Team Germany: Team Berlin Juniors
Team Great Britain: NIC Icicles
Team Hungary: Sportorszag Junior
Team Italy: Hot Shivers
Team Russia 1: Spartak Junost
Team Russia 2: Idel
Team Sweden 1: Convivium
Team Sweden 2: Team Spirit
Team Switzerland: Cool Dreams
Team USA 1: Lexettes
Team USA 2: Chicago Jazz

The event is without usual Canadian entrant Nexxice, which lost out to Les Pirouettes at Winterfest, Canada’s selection event for the JWCC. Nexxice, however, were silver medallists at the Canadian synchro championships on 20 to 22 February. In a similar upset, Team USA 2, Chicago Jazz, were only fourth at the US synchro championships on 28 February to 1 March, behind  Saint Louis Synergy and Hockettes, with St Louis just 0.53 behind US junior number one team Lexettes. And as seems usual, Finland’s Musketeers go into the JWCC as Finnish champions, but as Team Finland 2.

The JWCC short programmes get under way from 18.30 CET (17.30 GMT) on Friday, and the free programmes from 18.15 CET (17.15 GMT) on Saturday.

Live streaming: www.ustream.tv/channel/synchro-skating-events-switzerland

Event site: www.jwcc2014.com

Results: http://events.skating.ch/events1314/JWCC_2014/index.htm

NIC Icicles: twitter.com/TeamIcicles

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