The County You Live, Work And Play
Ice Clubs Receive Backing
Some of the skaters from the Olympia Figure Skating Club
Stars of the ice have expressed the hope that East Kilbride’s skating clubs survive the closure of the town’s ice rink as it undergoes a £2million refurbishment.
With the work expected to take a year, the town’s two successful skating clubs have been desperately searching for alternative venues.
Both East Kilbride Ice Figure Skating and the Olympia Figure Skating Club have produced some of the best skaters in the country.
Ice dance star John Kerr and his sister Sinead, who won seven British titles, trained as youngsters at the East Kilbride ice rink.
John said: “We started out skating with both Olympia and East Kilbride and they have consistently produced quality skaters year on year.
“There has always been a driven, hard working ethic at both clubs, but the coaches also make it a fun learning experience for the skaters.
“It would be a shame if they had nowhere to train for a prolonged time.
“A large part of my formative years were spent at East Kilbride Ice Rink.
“Both clubs have consistently produced excellent skaters over the last 20 years, some of whom have gone onto national and international success.
“When I look back on my career I realise that a lot of what I achieved was thanks to my time spent in East Kilbride.
“It would be a terrible shame if these clubs were not able to sustain their wonderful legacies because there was no ice time for them.”
Both skating clubs are now fundraising to help them pay for the costs of booking time for their classes at nearby rinks.
Jamie Wright (23), who regularly competes on the international circuit, also trains in East Kilbride. He said: “Ensuring you’re fit and at your best is stressful enough, without constantly having to worry about how you can keep up your training.
“My hope is that the work is completed as quickly as possible to keep disruption to a minimum.”
Lewis Gibson (21), who has been skating with the Olympia Figure Skating club since the age of 11, is worried the rink’s closure could affect his chances of making the Olympic squad.
He said: “I train 14 hours on the ice during the week. Half of this time is spent working with my coach Leanne Collins based at East Kilbride ice rink. As you can imagine with the closure of the rink I will have to look elsewhere at other rinks, resulting in extra costs for ice and travel.
“I will struggle to maintain the ice time I received at the East Kilbride facility and coaching needed to make my ultimate goal of becoming an Olympian in 2018.”
Both skating clubs are determined they will survive and admit they are looking forward to the opening of East Kilbride state-of-art facility in November 2016.