Bracknell Ice Skating CLub

BISC - Newsletter February 2006

Bracknell Ice Skating Club Newsletter - February 2006

Synchro Aims For 3 Teams and Junior World Championship

BISC's synchro section is aiming to field three teams next season with a junior team good enough to represent Britain at the 2007 Junior World Championships in Nottingham.

The novice team, which won bronze in this year's British championship, will continue with its Beetlejuice programme but it is hoped more skaters aged 10-14 will join.

The intermediate team, which won championship silver this year, will be replaced by a junior team (12-18 year olds) which will need to lengthen the existing Cirque du Soleil long programme and have a new short programme, as well as new costumes.

There will also be a new juvenile team for under 12 year olds.

The teams will be coached by David Phillips and Lucine Chakmakjian and all on-ice training will be at Bracknell on Friday evenings. All skaters are "strongly encouraged" to take part in the club's on and off-ice activities, particularly the group skating lessons.

Meanwhile the club's award for most improved synchro skater has been presented to Charlotte Brooke with Laura Kerr as runner-up while Gemma Cross has won the Synchro Skater of the Year award.

Meet The Coaches

In the first of our series about the rink's coaches, we highlight two of the newest to join the team.


"After seeing a friend compete in a figure skating competition, I got the bug and joined a club in Helsinki at the age of seven.

At eight I decided I wanted to be a coach when I "grew up" but my coach tried his best to put me off the idea! He told me my pupils would give me headaches, it was bad pay and extremely unsociable hours … he was almost right but I love it!

I competed at championship standard and represented Finland internationally at all levels. I became Finnish and Nordic Junior Champion in 1980. My training included compulsory classes in classical ballet and jazz dance etc. This gave me an opportunity to do some choreography with the students at my dance school. Choreography is a part of coaching I very much enjoy.

Unfortunately my competitive career ended when I was 17 due to injury.

I started coaching in 1987 at Slough when the rink first opened. I was involved in starting up the junior and senior academy and did the off-ice work with the skaters.

My "official" coaching level is NISA Level 3 and BITA senior coach ("senior" reflects my coaching skills, not my age). In the summer of 1999 and 2000 I worked with Russian national coach Rafael Arutunian at training camps in Moscow and Belgium. I learned a lot from Rafael and his colleagues, both in their on-ice and off-ice work and it was an amazing experience to be on the ice at the same time as Alexander Abt and Alexander Shubin!

Moving to Bracknell last May was a great decision. I have so far enjoyed my work here and hope that I can have some positive input in the skaters' training in the future … even though most of my pupils already have come to the conclusion that I'm mad! "


"I grew up in Seaford near Brighton and started skating at the Brighton rink when I was eight. As Brighton was a very small rink, I soon decided to train at weekends in London and was lucky that my parents had an apartment in London so I was able to stay at weekends. I trained at the Streatham rink with the late Frances Waghorn in free-skating and with Diane Towler for dance. I reached the finals in the British Novice and Junior Solo Ice Dance Championships. When my parents moved to Guildford, I trained there with Bernard Eddy (free) and at Bracknell with David Phillips (dance) before going to Canada in 1995 where I trained and competed in British Columbia. I was based at the Whistler rink with Bernard Ford and Corliss and Caroline. My days were very training focussed - from Monday to Friday I started at 8am and finished at 7pm during which I had sessions in ballet, gym and psychology training for competitions. Canadian muffins and lunchtimes in the hot tub kept me going! I can see why Canada has so many great skaters when rinks have four pads for public, hockey, speed and figure skating; and their skaters train all day nearly every day!

I returned to the UK to study for a BSc in computer science at Brunel University and skated at Slough with Jimmy Young and Guildford with Darren Gargano where in 1998 I passed my inter-gold dance test and gained my BITA Level 2 coaching qualification. I taught courses and birthday parties while studying for my MSc degree and performed in pantomimes at Broadgate, London, and at Guildford.

I started coaching at Bracknell in 2004 while finishing my PhD … and the rest you know!"


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