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Coomes and Buckland back with a bang at IJS Sheffield

Last week skaters put extensive training and hard work into play at one of NISA’s most looked forward to events, the IJS Sheffield.

The huge competition welcomed almost 300 competitors, and while skaters had hopes of medalling, attending the event was a milestone in itself for many.

The event even provided a stage for a special comeback performance from Olympic ice dancers Nick Buckland and Penny Coomes.

Nick and Penny have been away from competition for over a year, when Penny experienced a very serious injury during training.

Shortly after competition in the World Championships in March 2016, Penny shattered her right knee into eight pieces – an injury so severe that it threatened to take her off the ice for good.

But the couple have returned stronger and more determined than ever, making their comeback skate in Sheffield last week.

The team, who have competed at the last two Winter Olympics, have been developing brand new programmes with ice skating legend Christopher Dean.

Last week was their first opportunity to showcase them, and the team put in a strong performance to take Gold in Senior Adult Ice Dance.

High Performance Programme Manager Robin Cousins said: "The word I would use to describe the team’s comeback, irrespective of what happens this season, is remarkable.

“They have worked exceptionally hard, for a very long time, for the moment they could step back onto the ice together in competition.

“It was thrilling to watch them performing after such a long time away, and their success has only made them even more focused to reach their goals this season.

"Their performance last week is made all the more exceptional when we consider the way things were little more than a year ago.

“I don't think I've ever known anyone like Penny, who might appear so fragile, and yet such a tiger inside. It doesn't seem to matter what knocks them, they come back stronger.

“This has been a real test of their mettle but they have come back as strong and determined as ever.

“I know Nick and Penny are feeling elated after their comeback at the IJS, and now are fully focused on qualifying to represent Great Britain at PyeongChang 2018.”

  

Nick and Penny’s successful comeback comes shortly after UK Sport announced their continued support for the ice dance couple, as part of their Annual Investment Review on Winter Sports (AIR).

But Nick and Penny were among many skaters to come away triumphant from the competition, which sees the talent bar raised each year.

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson also put in exceptional performances to take Silver just behind Nick and Penny in the same category.

  

While Olympic hopeful Graham Newbury also wowed with a compelling routine to take Gold in the Senior Men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many skaters were aiming to achieve qualification at the IJS for the 2017 National Ice Skating Championships in December.

NISA Technical Director Alistair Wilson said: "The August IJS is where we see the new programs of our elite athletes for the coming season.

"There were several exceptional performances in all categories: from Arabella Sear Watkins in the Basic Novice A Ladies 10 and under category right up to the sensational return from injury of Penny Coombes and Nick Buckland, with their spectacular new programs in the Senior Dance.

"We have a lot to look forward to in the coming season as these new programs develop and mature.”

But iceSheffield will welcome back more brilliant young skaters this month, when NISA Young Stars makes its debut at the venue at the end of August.

But for now, here at NISA we would like to congratulate everyone who competed at the IJS Sheffield, and thank them, their families, coaches and all dedicated volunteers and officials for making this another brilliant event.

Click here to see all results from IJS Sheffield.

Click here to see a short video of elated Nick & Penny post performance.

Click here to see more information about the upcoming AGM, and the weight your vote carries.