Bracknell Ice Skating CLub

BISC - Newsletter December 2005

Bracknell Ice Skating Club Newsletter - December 2005

BISC Skaters Triumph at Championships

BISC is in jubilant mood after members notched up their most successful British Championships for many years.

Not only did Rebecca Forsyth and Christopher Hockaday win the primary dance championship at iceSheffield but Simon Waller won silver in the junior men’s figure skating championship … the first solo figure skating medal won by a club member for at least a decade and the first ever by a “home-grown” Bracknell skater.

Yuen Tung Chiu also did the club proud by finishing 5th out of 23 in the primary ladies figure skating event. “Of course the club is delighted to have won gold and silver but we are proud of all our championship skaters,” said club chairman Roy Welham. “This will boost the club’s reputation nationally and we hope it will be a springboard for Rebecca, Christopher and Simon to get the recognition we feel they deserve from the National Ice Skating Association and the chance to represent Britain in International Skating Union competitions.”

Rebecca, 14, and Chris, 16, who have skated well all season, were originally the only couple to qualify for the primary dance championship because of the change this year to the New Judging System which brought with it new standards to pass the competitive tests needed to compete at British championships. It showed the couple’s enormous sportsmanship that, after they had won the last event when skaters could qualify, they asked NISA if a rival couple from Streatham could be allowed to compete. NISA subsequently decided to have “an invitational aspect” to this year’s event. While acknowledging that the British Championships should “always remain an elite competition and therefore entrance should be of a standard that warrants entry and also adds something to the level of competition”, it agreed that some who had failed to reach the qualifying standard could be allowed to enter.

It meant the Bracknell duo had a couple to compete against and they beat the opposition in both the compulsory dances and the free dance.

“They skated well and it was a convincing win,” said David Phillips who coaches the couple at Bracknell with his wife Lucine Chakmakjian. The couple are also coached at Slough. Because there are no age limits on the lower dance championships, it is not a foregone conclusion that Rebecca and Chris will move up to junior level next season.

“They may do another international competition in the new year before they decide. We will take advice from NISA about whether it feels they should move up and we have to look at the pass mark for the junior test and whether they feel confident they will pass,” David said. Rebecca and Chris were selected for the British Development Squad after they won the novice dance title early in 2004. But they failed to get re-selected when they finished 6th in last year’s primary championship even though they came 5th and 4th among big fields in two non-ISU internationals this year.

For Simon, 18, the championship was just as much about proving himself to NISA and getting back into the British squad as it was about winning.

He knew after the Scottish Championships in October, when he won bronze, that he had a good chance of winning because he was able to do more triple jumps than his rivals. In fact when it came to the British he found that the other juniors could only do half the triples while he could do a triple axel (3.5 revolutions) and is consolidating a quadruple jump which he did in the official practices although not in the competition. He was also the only skater in the entire event to land a triple-triple combination in the short programme – the best the others did was a triple-double.

Although he skated well in the short technical programme – he finished just half a mark behind David Richardson who had won the Scottish Championship - he did not do so well in the long programme. But it was good enough to keep him in second place, ahead of the skater who had come second in Scotland.

“Of course my coach (Jon Bonny) and I are disappointed I didn’t win but I did prove that I should be taken seriously by NISA. Everyone – competitors, spectators, coaches and judges – was commenting on my jumps and I have also shown that I will be a serious competitor next year when I move up to senior level,” Simon said.

Simon was selected for the development squad when he came 5th in the novice championship in spring 2001 but lost his place after a broken ankle stopped him competing in the primary championships in December that year and he came 6th the following year.

Although Yuen Tung Chiu, 12, did not win a medal, she still beat 18 competitors to come 5th in the primary ladies’ short and long programmes, and 5th overall - five places higher than last year. She looks set to keep her place in the squad especially after she came 4th out of 21 in an international in Finland early this year and won bronze in an ISU international in Zagreb, Croatia, a week before the championship.

* It was also a good championship for three former BISC members who now train full-time at iceSheffield. Kira Geil and Andrew Smykowski won bronze in senior dance while John Horne and his new partner Rowan Musson won bronze in junior dance.

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