Finnish National Championships 2020
The Finnish Figure Skating Championships for 2020 were held at the Trio Arena in Vantaa on 14-15 December 2019 for both juniors and seniors.
L to R: Jenni Saarinen, Emmi Peltonen, Linnea Ceder
Emmi Peltonen reclaims her crown.
Despite the absence of reigning champion, Viveca Lindfors, who is still recovering from injury, no-one, going into this nationals, had high hopes for Emmi Peltonen who has experienced difficulties with her jumps thus far this season and finished last in her only Grand Prix event.
The title was contested by 12 ladies. After the short it was Jenni Saarinen who led having skated a solid clean program to earn 61.86 points. Emmi Peltonen was some 7 points adrift in second place, having fallen on a triple loop and garnering negative GOE on all of her jumps. In terms of technical score she was only fourth but her superior component scores managed to elevate her into second spot. The free skate, however, was a very different matter. Even in early morning practice Peltonen seemed happy and relaxed. This was apparent in her free skate and, without the pressure of defending a leading after the short, Peltonen landed 5 clean triples and had one of her best performances for many months. As a result, she scored a season’s best of 119.54 for a total of 174.29. Jenni Saarinen, who had been rock solid in practice and skated immediately after Peltonen, seemed a little unnerved by the reaction to Peltonen’s skate. Three of her first four jump elements did not go according to plan wither singling the triple loop, a fall on the triple flip and singling the triple lutz. But from this point she seemed to regain her poise and the second half of her program was clean. Nevertheless, the damage was done and she narrowly held second in the free to finish just under 2 points behind Peltonen overall. Third place went to Linnea Ceder who pulled up from fifth place in the short.
Roman Galay successfully defends his title
L to R: Valtter Virtanen, Roman Galay, Lauri Lankila
There were only four competitors in the senior men’s competition. Roman Galay was, on paper, the favourite to retain the title. Galay now has a consistent triple axel in his armoury and in practice he was almost flawless. This carried over into competition where he skated a clean short program to “Never Tear Us Apart” and was the only competitor to attempt the triple axel. He earned a season’s best of 71.20 points, however, former champion Valtter Virtanen also skated clean and was less than 4 points behind and had a slightly higher component score than Galay. Lauri Lankila placed third with 54.10 points.
In the free skate, Virtanen again had one of his best competition performances in memory. Although a triple axel was planned it was not attempted, nevertheless, he achieved a season’s best of 121.30 for an overall score of 189.16. Roman Galay was the final skater. His opening triple axel, which was scheduled to be combination, was under-rotated and caused him to fall. However, he bounced right back and successfully landed the triple axel in combination with a single Euler and triple salchow as the second element. There was another under-rotation on the triple loop later in the second half of the program. Galay earned 120.16 for the free skate but it was enough for him to hold onto the lead with a total of 191.36 points. Lauri Lankila was also placed third in the free to maintain his overall third spot.
Two new pairings contest the Ice Dance.
L to R: Arina Klinovitskaya/Jussiville Partanen, Yuka Orihara/Juho Pirinen
There were only two entries in the senior ice dance category as Juulia Turkkila’s neck injury, sustained in practice earlier in the year, prevented her from competing with her partner Matthias Versluis. They had considered competing in the championships but decided to err on the side of caution and plan to return to competition in the very near future.
So the competition was between two new couples: Arina Klinovitskaya and former Finnish ice dance champion Jussiville Partanen (previous partner: Cecilia Törn) and; Yuka Orihara and Juho Pirinen. In the Rhythm Dance, Orihara and Pirinen put in an assured and polished performance to a selection of music from the soundtrack of “Mary Poppins Returns” to earn 70.15 points. The partnership of Klinovitskaya/Partanen is even newer than Orihara/Pirinen, and this was evident in the slight hesitancy of their performance which only earned 49.69 points. The free dance followed the same pattern with Orihara/Pirinen earning 102.75 against Klinovitskaya/Partanen scoring 81.11 and both couples receiving a one point deduction for extended lifts. Despite the disparity in the scores both new pairings seem to have good chemistry on the ice and it will be interesting to see what the dance competition is like in a year’s time when, hopefully, all three couples are able to compete.
In spite of the absence of Viveca Lindfors in the Senior Ladies, there was still a strong showing by the Lindfors family with her younger sister, Fanny Lindfors, in the Junior Girls and her even younger brother, Matias Lindfors (12) competing in Junior Boys.
L to R: Olivia Lisko, Nella Pelkonen, Janna Jyrkinen
Junior Girls was contested by 22 competitors. In the short program it was the youngest entrant, Janna Jyrkinen (12), who took first place with a confident and fearless performance to “Big Spender” from “Sweet Charity”. Her program had the highest technical content of any of the girls opening with a triple salchow/triple toe combination which was the only flawed element as the toe loop was under-rotated. She earned 50.16 with Nella Pelkonen in second with 47.93 and Olivia Lisko in third place with 47.16. Unfortunately, in the free skate, despite displaying the same fearlessness, Janna had a few too many errors placed third in the free skate and dropped to third overall with a total of 134.45 points. Nella Pelkonen took the junior title with 143.80 points and Olivia Lisko was second with 136.50.
L to R: Makar Suntsev, Jan Ollikainen, Matias Lindfors
The Junior Boys had 7 entries and, again, it was the youngest competitor, Matias Lindfors, who was the most exciting. Lindfors was 4 – 5 years younger than any of his rivals but he demonstrated the greatest artistry and technical ability and, in spite of his diminutive size he had the most assured and natural presence on the ice. He placed second in both the short and the free and placed third overall with an overall score of 120.03. The title went to Jan Ollikainen (126.22) who was third in the short but first in the free and second place went to Makar Suntsev (126.04) who had placed first in the short and third in the free.
The Junior Ice Dance was contested by 3 couples and there was not a lot to differentiate between the them. Points for the rhythm dance ranged from 32.06 to 33.40 and from 48.86 to 52.82 for the free. There was a reversal in the finishing order between the rhythm and free dance with meant that the couple who placed second in both segments, Daniela Ivanitskky and Samu Kyyhkynen, took the title with a total of 85.61 points, Sanni Rytkönen and Miitri Niskanen were second with 84.88 points and Margareta Poutiainen and Mirko Niskanen fell from first after the short to third place with 82.26 points.
L to R: Sanni Rytkönen/Miitri Niskanen, Daniela Ivanitskiy/Samu Kyyhkynen, Margareta Poutiainen/Mirko Niskanen