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Support required for Great British ice sports during funding review period

The 2015 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships are currently underway in Russia, and the National Ice Skating Association (NISA) is encouraging people to get behind its top athletes in both speed and figure skating as the sports come in to their funding review periods.

The ISU World Championships is the pinnacle event in the athletes’ annual calendar and they have targets to meet across both speed skating and figure skating to ensure the funding from UK Sport continues in the run up to PyeongChang 2018.

In figure skating, UK Sport has set targets for the two ice dance couples and the pairs team, who will be competing in the World Championships in China at the end of this month (23rd - 29th March). Britain’s top ice dance couple, Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, need a top seven finish; current British Champions, Olivia Smart and Joe Buckland need to finish in the top 15; and pairs team, Amani Fancy and Christopher Boyadji need to place in the top 12 overall.

Nick Sellwood, Chief Executive of NISA, the Governing Body for ice skating in the UK said: “It’s been a challenging season for the figure skaters, with the Buckland brothers coming down with Gastroenteritis at the European Championships, which led to them having to drop out. Chris Boyadji has also spent the season recovering from an elbow operation, but they have all been training hard to put in some good performances at world level later this month”.

In short track speed skating, the squad have been working closely with UK Sport during the 2014-15 season to develop and implement a strategic operational plan. The key target for the sport is to improve athlete performances across the whole season, with the squad expected to target one top five in the women’s individual event and a top eight in the men’s individual event at the ISU World Championships this weekend.

Nick added: “The speed skaters have had a really positive season to date, and we hope that they can finish the season on a high at the World Championships this weekend.  Elise Christie claimed the title at the European Championships at the start of this year, and Jack Whelbourne finished fourth in 1,000m at the final World Cup of the season, so we are on track to meet the targets that have been set.

“The support of UK Sport is vital in helping us achieve our goals as a governing body. The substantial increase in investment has enabled us to make big improvements across our performance programmes this season, including the appointment of new team members who are making a significant impact on both disciplines.

“I would like as many people as possible to get behind our athletes to offer support and encouragement during this highly pressured time. This can be done via the NISA Facebook & Twitter accounts and messages will be forwarded to the athletes”.

In 2014, UK Sport announced that ice skating in the UK would benefit from more than £6million in funding for its high performance programmes over the next four years. Figure skating was set to benefit from an investment of £1,699,940, whilst short track speed skating was awarded a total of £4,350,600 – both a significant increase on previous funding.

In the four year cycle which culminated in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (2010-2014), figure skating in the UK was awarded just £174,338 and short track speed skating got £2,953,400.

The outcome of UK Sport’s funding review will be made in June 2015.

Click here to show your support for the athletes through Facebook, and here through Twitter.

Click here to follow the results of this weekend’s ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

13th March 2015