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UK Skaters Set the Standard for the Winter Season at IJS Sheffield

It has been a full on and exciting week at iceSheffield arena as hundreds of skaters from Basic Novice through to Elite hit the ice, kicking their winter season off with the IJS Sheffield in association with NISA and Skate UK.

For many skaters this was their first event of the season, for others it provided another chance to qualify for the National Championships taking place in the same arena in December.

For NISA’s elite skating couples Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland and Amani Fancy & Christopher Boyadji who competed on the final days of the event; it was the first public viewing for their newly choreographed material.

The elite pairs will be representing the UK in a number of European and International competitions over the coming season and their appearances here in Sheffield have set them off to a positive start both coming first in their respective categories.

Penny & Nick competed in the Senior Dance category in the last two days of the competition. Day one saw the pair perform the Ravensburger Waltz.

High Performance Manager, Robin Cousins spoke of their performance in day one, saying:

“Nick and Penny were very happy with their skate. Having not competed at full strength since October it was great for them to get back on the ice with a new routine and a renewed confidence.”

Day two saw the pair compete again in Free Dance. Two days of strong performances left them in first place with an overall score of 158.50.

Amani & Chris first took to the ice on Thursday in the Senior Pairs Short Programme. After a tentative start, coming off an injury laden season, the pair was happy to be back on the ice.

Their performance involved a new triple twist lift element and across the two days the pair secure an overall score of 129.16.

Robin spoke of Amani & Chris’s performance, saying:

“Everybody loved the concept of Chris and Amani’s new choreography which is based on ‘Ghost’. This week has been a positive start for the pair, it is the first time they have performed a triple twist in competition and has given them confidence for the season ahead.”

With little time to rest, Amani & Chris will now be working towards the Challenger Series, Nebelhorn Trophy from 24th to 26th September in Germany. Meanwhile Penny & Nick will prepare for Challenger Series, Ondrej Nepala Trophy from 1st to 3rd October in Slovakia.

In addition to the strong performances shown by the elite pairs, a number of younger skaters shone through at the event showing great promise for the season ahead.

Rebecca Gillespie is a rising star from the National Ice Centre in Nottingham. She won first place with a score of 89.82 in her category of Advanced Novice Ladies and will go on to compete in the 28th Volvo Cup in Latvia in November.

Alongside Rebecca, with a strong performance at IJS Sheffield and due to perform at the Volvo Cup later this year is skater Anastasia Vaipen-Law from Dundee. Anastasia achieved an amazing score of 111.81, coming first place in her category of Junior Ladies.

Following the event, all squad members attended the NISA Performance Camp at Sheffield Hallam University. This two-day camp is the only time in the season that both national and elite squad members will be together, sharing the expertise of NISA experts.

The camp aims to provide the skaters with training and support across areas including technique, nutrition, injury prevention and physio equipping them for future competitions.

You can follow the journey of our skaters by following @NISA_iceskating on Twitter and ‘National Ice Skating Association’ on Facebook. We will be updating you on key events through the season and sharing exciting news from our skaters as they represent us around the globe.