Ice Skaters Inspire at Inclusive Skating competition.
The 2016 annual Inclusive Skating event incorporating the British Inclusive Skating Championships, Special Olympics National Championships and for the first time the British Blind Sport Championships. The event took place at Braehead curling rink from 8th-10th of April 2016. This year we had over 50 skaters from both the UK and Canada competing this year.
Skaters can compete in the following disciplines; elements, free skating, ice dance and for the first time this year skaters can compete in the pairs category in both elements and free. The pairs competing in this year’s competition were Meg McFarlane and Callum Mills from Lammas, Stephanie Gott and Geraint Lewis from Deeside, both couples were competing in level 1 pairs. We also had Billy Mair and Sam Mair from Magnum skating in the level 3 pair’s competition in both elements and free.
The competition started with the elements competition where both single and pair’s skaters perform two field move type exercises. The element levels vary greatly with skaters in level one performing forward and backward stroking and skaters in level six performing inside and outside forwards and backwards brackets, amongst other exercises. Following the element competition the opening ceremony commenced where the flags of the nations who were competing were taken on to the ice and Special Olympic oaths are read by officials, coaches and skaters.
Saturday afternoon saw 10 skaters from the UK and Canada compete in the ice dance competition. This year we had 3 Ladies and 4 Men competing in level 1 ice dance who were required to skate the Dutch Waltz and the Canasta Tango. The 2 Ladies competing in Level 2 ice dance, skated the Fiesta Tango and Rhythm Blues. The 1 competitor in the Level 3 Ladies competition, skated the European Waltz and the 14 Step. The winner of the Richard and Trudy Memorial Trophy for the highest score in the Ladies Ice Dance was Hannah Lee who competed in level 3. Hannah skates at Bradford and is coached by Millie Paterson and at Blackburn where she is coached by Keith Hudson.
Sunday saw the skaters perform their free programs, which was the highlight of this year’s event. Due to the development of Inclusive Skating, new IJS abbreviations have been created to allow the skaters in the lower levels receive marks for performing more basic skills such as crossovers, forward and backward stroking, drags, pivots and snowplough stops. As well as basic elements skaters can also compete more advanced elements, this year Inclusive Skating level 6 skater Abigail Lindley, who trains at Cannock and is coached by Natasha Fennell-Owen scored seasons best of 25.33. Abi skated an advanced program which included axles, a double salchow and a double loop on its own and in combination. Abi also received level 1 and positive grades of execution for the upright combination spin.
This year’s Inclusive Skating event saw the return of the harness event in which skaters who are wheelchair users have the opportunity to get on the ice. This year Darren Little competed in the Level 1 Senior Men’s harness event which took place at the Time Capsule, Coatbridge. As well as a harness event, for the first time this year we have had walking aids and frames used on the ice. Jaclyn Keir, who is also a wheelchair user was able to compete at Braehead in the Level 1 Junior Ladies event with the use of a walking frame – a first for an Inclusive Skating competition. Both Darren and Jaclyn won gold medals in both their elements and free skate competition.
Following the free programs the award ceremony commenced with skaters receiving awards for not only the Inclusive Skating competition, but if eligible the Inclusive Skating British Championships, Special Olympics National Championships and for the first time the British Blind Sport Championships. This year we had 16 skaters competing in the Special Olympics National Championships, the results of this national competition were being used to aid the selection process for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which are to be held in Austria. We had 4 skaters competing in the British Blind Sport Championships, Juliana Sweeney-Baird; 1st B5 Novice Ladies, Harriet-Evie Rooms; 1st B2 Novice Ladies, Isobel-Ami Rooms; 1st B5 Advanced Novice Ladies and Kara Graham; 2nd B5 Novice Ladies.
Tracey Stevenson, Emma’s mum who skates at Peterborough adds; “Inclusive Skating was Emma’s first attempt at competition. Having attended mainstream competitions with her older sister, we were dreading the stress and pressure, but I was regularly reassured by previous attendees that this was the exact opposite. How true this turned out to be! Despite a long journey, early starts, and an unfamiliar place, Emma (9, autistic) loved everything about this event. She made new friends, skated beautifully, felt no negative emotion, and was highly elated to win gold medals in both compulsories and the free skate!
As a parent, I cannot thank the organisers enough. To meet so many wonderful, inspiring young people, and their families, was an unforgettable experience. Watching those amazing skaters push every boundary, every obstacle, to follow their love of skating was both humbling and exhilarating! To see the support for everyone, from everyone, was one of the most soul-soothing experiences ever. There was no gloating, no jealousy, no huge disappointment; each skater, each spectator, revelled in every single effort. Those who attend mainstream competitions should attend, to see what skating is really about: not the winning, not the artistry; just a pure, raw love of the sport, and the chance for every participant to feel equal.
Margarita and her fellow organisers have only the tiniest idea of how important they are to us all. The system under which this operates is, in itself, a marvel, but the way in which each and every member of the Inclusive Skating team invest their emotions into giving the skaters this opportunity is what is truly remarkable.”
On behalf of all skaters I would like to thank those who volunteered and gave their time to help at such a wonderful event, as without volunteers we would not be able to hold such inspiriting competitions.
Subject to funding the next Inclusive Skating event is to be held in April 2017, to any skaters wondering whether they would be eligible to classify for the event, please see our website www.inclusiveskating.org for more information on classification and future events.
Use the hashtag #ISGlasgow16 to see post and pictures of the events on Facebook and other social media.
Results can be found here: http://www.iceresultsuk.org.uk/IS/2016/index.htm
Abigail Lindley, skated in both the Ladies Advanced Novice elements and free and successfully defended her British title that she won last year.
British Special Olympic Competitors and Medallists
Young Competitor Awards (left to right) Harriet-Evie Rooms, Sophie Ravenscroft, Emma Hall and Lauren McLean
Hannah Lee was the winner of the Richard and Trudy Memorial Trophy for the highest score in Ladies Ice Dance
The British Inclusive Skating Junior Championship medalists and Inclusive Skating medalists