Sleaford schoolgirl wins British ice skating crown

Fiona (right) with part of the championship-winning Icicles team EMN-170216-164625002

Fiona (right) with part of the championship-winning Icicles team EMN-170216-164625002

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After injury ended one sporting career, Sleaford schoolgirl Fiona Lucas has bounced back in style as a British champion ice skater.

The Kesteven and Sleaford High School pupil will jet off to Canada next month to compete in the world synchronised skating championships.

Fiona took up skating just four years ago, but has become a key member of the Nottingham Synchronised Skating Academy (NSSA).

Last month her team, the Icicles, eclipsed a national junior record on their way to winning the British title in January.

Fiona’s dad Charles said: “She did a lot of gymnastics when she was younger, but she broke her ankle playing football with a boys’ team and she was never the same again.

“She lost her confidence completely as a gymnast so her mother suggested she had a go at ice skating.

“We bought her some skating lessons for Christmas and she took to it like a duck to water.”

While learning the different disciplines on the ice, synchronised skating’s team ethic appealed to Fiona and she progressed through the age groups at Nottingham, competing around the UK and in Europe.

The 15-year-old is now in final preparations for the world championships which take place in the city of Mississauga on Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11.

Training has been stepped up to five days a week as the team look to perfect the two routines which won them British gold medals by more than 20 points from Scottish rivals Solway Stars.

Charles, who is also vice-chairman of the NSSA, added: “The strongest nations are the USA, Canada, Russia, Finland and Sweden who are able to field two teams and will fill the top eight places.

“We are competitive in the second tier below them so a finish in the low teens would be a good performance.”

Teams are marked on how they perform the compulsory technical moves and the team’s synchronisation, as well as artistic impression.

With 16 skaters involved, the sport demands an eye for precision and detail from each team member, as well as an excellent sense of timing, skill and not to mention courage.

“With 16 skaters in close formation accidents happen and certain parts of routine almost encourage accidents,” Charles added.

After returning from Canada, Fiona will take three months out from the sport to concentrate on studies for her GCSE exams this summer.

Headteacher Josephine Smith said: “We are all amazingly proud of Fiona and her recent successes.

“Fiona is a really humble, unassuming student, but it’s easy to tell how dedicated she has been to her skating in order to achieve success along with her team.

“At school she always works hard and it’s impressive to see how she has juggled her commitment to her studies alongside her sporting success.”