Figure-skaters call for reopening of ice rinks

Ffion RobertsImage source, Family photo
Image caption,
Ffion Roberts has been skating since she was five-years-old

A 12-year-old Olympic figure-skating hopeful is going to train in the Netherlands while ice rinks in the UK are closed.

Ffion Roberts, from Coventry, would normally train on the ice six days a week, but is instead doing cardio work to keep up her power and strength.

Ice rinks were among places that could not reopen when Boris Johnson postponed lockdown easing.

A national petition is calling for rink to reopen so athletes can train.

ITV's Dancing on Ice skater Mark Hanretty earlier warned the UK risks losing a generation of talent if rinks are not reopened to elite skaters.

Ffion, whose dream is to one day win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, said: "It's really annoying because all the other countries have their rinks open and we don't, and that's not fair.

She said of her move to The Netherlands: "My coach has got the opportunity to go to Holland to coach for a few hours a day."

Image caption,
Jacob Casey has represented Great Britain in competitions

Jacob Casey, 15, a silver medallist at the British Figure Skating championships who has represented Great Britain, has resorted to perfecting his double axels on the driveway of his home in Bedworth, Warwickshire.

He said: "Skating is all about gliding and you can't jump and land and glide backwards on concrete.

"It's quite a big set-back because we can't train and therefore we stop improving as much. It's been good to work on fitness but it has been really hard."

British Ice Skating, the national governing body for the sport, said on Friday it has been working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to lobby against the continued closures.

The DCMS has been approached for a comment.

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