In under a week’s time, Great Britain’s best junior figure skaters will be heading to Taipei City for the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.
We spoke to our four British Champions before they take to the ice the most prestigious of stages.
It’s safe to say that excitement is rife among the camp, with Ice Dancers Sasha Fear and Elliot Verburg (pictured) ready to get skating in Chinese Taipei.
Sasha said: “I am very honoured to be representing my country at Junior Worlds and I am so excited to go to Taipei and perform!”
Elliot echoed her message, he said: “It is absolutely incredible to be able to represent my country at such a large event! We cannot wait to make everyone back home proud.”
Kristen Spours, who will be skating in the Ladies said: “I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to represent GB at such a prestigious event.”
British Junior and Senior Champion Graham Newberry is feeling positive, he said: “It feels great to be skating on the World stage again after being injured last year, especially after having a great European Champions last month.”
The value of mental and physical preparation cannot be underestimated when competing at such a high level, Elliot explained: “Preparing for a competition of this level requires everything you have in you physically, and one needs to be prepared to leave everything out on the ice every day.
“Mentally, I feel as if I need to make sure I do not psych myself out and to take everything lightly and try and remember to enjoy myself.”
The World Junior Figure Skating Championships will see the pinnacle of our skaters’ achievements this season culminate across five days of intense skating action.
Graham Newberry, like all our four skaters, has had a fantastic season, and he will be hoping to carry his form through to the competition, he said: “There have been a lot (of highlights) this year, winning both titles at the British Championships and being selected for the European Championships, Junior Worlds and Senior World Championships, it’s been a great season.
“I treat every event as a Championship. The correct physical preparation gives you the correct mental preparation.”
Kristen has shared similar success, she explained: “This season has been great for me. I’ve achieved many of my goals like a national title, qualifying for the Senior World Championships into the Olympic year and breaking 140 points internationally.
“I have learnt from each competition and enjoyed the amazing experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have.”
Sasha and Elliot’s season got off to an interesting start, Elliot said: “This season has been an absolute rollercoaster, with both of us thinking that our seasons were finished very early on, and then coming together to create a partnership that really works!
“I personally am so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this season while still having a great time every day.”
Whatever the outcome in China, our skaters can go into to the competition proud of what they have achieved this season.
Finally our skaters shared some advice for some of our younger ice talents hoping to one day replicate their achievements.
“The advice that I would give to younger skaters would be to work hard, but to always have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days, but what happens on the bad days is what helps you to improve.”
“My advice to younger skaters is to be very patient and go into every session with a goal and use each goal as a stepping stone to what you want to achieve in the long run.”
“As well as being dedicated and putting the hours of practice in, my advice would be to believe in yourself no matter what. One of the most important things for me has been learning to believe in my ability even when others haven’t and it has helped me to feel confident when I skate.”
“Push yourself to reach new goals every day, never give up, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goals.”
We will be providing live updates on our skaters’ performances at the competition that runs from 15th – 19th March 2017. Full results will be posted upon publication.
Good luck to all four of our skaters competing.