The GB Short Track speed skaters have been hard at work over the past few weeks, visiting local primary schools to inspire children across the county. The visits have been organised following the recent announcement that Nottingham will host its first ever international speed skating competition in January next year (9-11 January), in which Britain’s top speed skaters will compete against the rest of Western Europe for a place on the podium.
The organisers of the ISU Star Class speed skating competition have invited local school children to support the GB squad on Friday 9th January, and they have 3,000 school children confirmed to attend. The athletes have been making their way around some of the schools involved, to excite and inspire the children about the adrenaline fuelled sport ahead of their visit to Nottingham’s National Ice Centre next month, where the competition will be held.
Richard Shoebridge and Jon Eley - who both competed in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics earlier this year - are just two of the Nottingham based athletes who have been meeting the children. They have been leading assemblies at schools including: Kinoulton Primary, Kinoulton; Arnold Mill Primary, Arnold, Fernwood Comprehensive in Wollaton; and Greythorn Primary in West Bridgford.
Their most recent visit took place yesterday (Thursday 18th December) when GB Short Track speed skaters, Richard Shoebridge and Jack Burrows met children at Blue Bell Hill Primary School in St Anns, Nottingham.
Richard Shoebridge said: “We are overwhelmed by the response from local schools to come along and support us when we compete internationally on home ice for the first time in January. We were keen to visit the schools to enthuse children even further ahead of the competition, but more importantly we want to raise awareness of short track speed skating amongst the next generation of athletes, and encourage participation at the grass roots level of the sport. You never know, the children we have been meeting over the past few weeks could become future British Olympians!”
Blue Bell Hill Primary School Director, Nic Williams added: “We have supported Team GB over many years and always welcome the opportunity for the children to meet the skaters. A number of our children are already speed skating and we hope to inspire many more to take the sport up and even be part of Team GB in the future. All the children are really looking forward to the competition.”
The ISU Star Class event is being organised by the National Ice Skating Association (NISA) and GB Short Track. They have been working in partnership with the National Ice Centre’s (NIC) Sports Development Department to generate interest amongst schools across Nottinghamshire and surrounding areas.
Tickets for the ISU Star Class competition are available to purchase for Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th January, priced at £5 each, or £12 for a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children). To buy tickets or call 0843 373 3000.