Altrincham's synchronised skaters aim for British Championships
PUBLISHED: 17:51 13 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:37 20 February 2013
Altrincham's synchronised skaters know that team work is key as they pursue their dream to qualify for this year's British Championships. WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
Forget the Olympics. There is only one sporting tournament that Sam Ozard has her sights set on this year. The 43-year-old, who coaches three synchronised skating teams at Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham, is hoping to reach the British Championships in November. The competition is a landmark event in British ice skating.
There is no doubt the teams will get there with a coach like Sam, who since the age of eight has been dedicated to the sport. She has competed in skating tournaments across the globe, representing
Great Britain at junior and adult level and she has also been the principal skater in top entertainment shows. Her determination and commitment has not waned since she became coach five years ago.
She said: The British Championships is very difficult to get into. Last year there were only three synchronised skating teams that made it from the whole of Britain. It is an incredibly high standard.
It will take a lot of perseverance and dedication to get there. But we will do it. I just know it will happen.
A demanding training regime is already underway. All the skaters, who range from five-years-old through to retirement age, are being put through their paces by Sam before school and work at 6am every Monday and Tuesday.
The three teams have come a long way. Five years ago they were being taught the basics of how to skate and it was only four years ago that the official teams were formed. Today, they are winning top trophies at prestigious European competitions.
The Blade Runners and Twizzles were awarded gold for their routine at the Winger Cup in Belgium while the Silver Blades took home silver. Before this recent success, they had also taken home a bumper haul of prizes from competitions across the country.
Sam, who is originally from Liverpool but moved to Altrincham when the citys ice rink closed, said: Wed missed out on the British Championships last year. We went to Belgium to get some international experience, just to see how it would go. We were only going to take part and never imagined we would come back with these top prizes. What a fantastic experience, it was our first international competition!
We were over the moon and we couldnt believe it. Im very proud of what we have all achieved in a very short time. Now were all raring to go with a few competitions coming up in Blackpool and Scotland and then it will be all systems go for the British Championships. We cant wait. My dream is to get us all to the World Championships. I know we can do it.