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[ICE TIME] Mao Shimada Aiming for More History at the World Junior Championships

Mao Shimada has a shot at becoming the third woman to repeat as world junior champion, joining Elena Radionova and Alexandra Trusova.



Mao Shimada
Mao Shimada, seen in a December 2023 file photo, is the reigning world junior champion. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] Mao Shimada Aiming for More History at World Junior Championships

Reigning champion Mao Shimada will attempt to defend her title and etch her name again in the history books when the World Junior Figure Skating Championships get underway with the women's short program on Wednesday, February 28 in Taipei.

The 15-year-old Shimada took the crown in 2023 in Calgary, Canada, becoming the eighth Japanese woman to earn the honor. Now the young star will try to move into even rarer company as just the third woman ever to repeat as the world junior titlist, joining Russia's Elena Radionova (2013, 2014) and Alexandra Trusova (2018, 2019).

Shimada, the Junior Grand Prix Final winner the past two seasons, will enter again as the odds-on favorite to top the podium. Her primary challenger for the second straight year will be South Korea's Jia Shin, who was the silver medalist in 2022 and 2023. The South Korean skater also came in second to Shimada at the last two JGP Finals and the recent Winter Youth Olympics.

Shin, also 15, is a fine skater, but she lacks the powerful triple axel and quadruple toe loop that make Shimada so dominating a force in the sport. 

Mao Shimada
Mao Shimada has won back-to-back Junior Grand Prix Final women's titles. (KYODO)

If Shimada is on her game in Taiwan, it will be another gold for her trophy case. A win by Shimada would mean that she has won every junior competition she has entered in the past two seasons, an almost incomprehensible achievement.

Joining Shimada in the women's field will be compatriots Rena Uezono, who has made a splash in her debut season in international competition, and Ikura Kushida. The 13-year-old Uezono was the bronze medalist at the JGP Final in December 2023 in Beijing and possesses huge potential. She is a good bet to come home with a medal from Taipei.


Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.

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