Archive for July, 2017

IW senior team Wight Jewels say goodbye to another skater who has gone international as long-time member Beth Howarth leaves for Australia to join Team Nova. She talks to iowskaters about her move


Beth (far left, front) with the Wight Jewels at the Leon Lurje Trophy, Gothenburg


If Santa Claus grants wishes, then Wight Jewel Beth Howarth can thank him for making possible the latest stage of her ice skating career. For Beth, who turned 21 just this week, is about to leave the Isle of Wight to join Australian senior synchronized skating team Nova, based in Brisbane, Queensland.

Beth started skating at the comparatively late age of 10 – and it was a Skate with Santa special at Ryde rink that sparked her passion.

“My dad first took me skating on Christmas Eve with Santa,” says Beth. “Then I begged my dad for lessons and finally when he let me have them I was so happy! I started skating because I loved watching the sport, I had tried lots of sports before but I never felt like I found the sport that I was good at.”

Beth took lessons with the head coach of Ryde ice rink, Terri Smith, who also coaches the synchronized skating teams. Perhaps inevitably, Beth switched to synchro at the age of 12.

“I always watched the teams skate down the rink on patch ice and I loved the idea of being a part of a team and going away together,” says Beth. “I was also coached by Terri Smith and she encouraged me to join the juvenile team.”

Like others for whom skating has become a passion, Beth has relied on her family and coach to support and encourage her.

“My parents and family have helped me so much with skating, driving me to the rink for 5:30am practices and encouraging me all the way through. They’ve also taken me to competitions and been my number one supporters. My coach Terri Smith has of course helped me loads with my skating and I am so happy I have had Terri as a coach throughout these years with her great understanding.”

When it comes to synchro, however, she says her biggest inspiration has been six-times world champions Team Surprise of Sweden.

“Team Surprise work so hard and for so many hours to perfect their programmes. I remember first going to a training camp in Sweden and seeing them skate and I was just amazed at how fast they were and how in time. From then on I have always wanted to perfect my skating and always be improving.”

Inspiration has also come from many other skaters and her team-mates on the Isle of Wight.

Beth explains: “One main person was Gemma Marsh. She was always down the rink working so hard and showing up to practice early. Now Gemma skates for Team Surprise and it always made me think if I wanted to do something like that then it was possible. Gemma has always worked so hard, and this summer has helped me at patch ice to improve my steps and skating skills ready for Nova. I had also always thought about maybe travelling and joining another team but had been nervous to do it, but now I am so excited.”

Skating with IW team Wight Jewels at junior and more recently senior level has also played its part.

“Skating with the Jewels has taught me team work but also how to trust each other, especially doing senior where you really need to trust each other because of lifts but also because of the speed that the team now has when skating. If you don’t trust the person next to you then it won’t work.”

Beth took a break from skating when she left the Island to study at Brunel University, but she quickly realized that she didn’t want to give up skating.

“On my second year I decided to go back,” she says, “and this was when the Jewels made the decision to be a senior team. It was hard to juggle both university and skating. I also did netball at uni which then made it even harder. I had to set myself a timetable for each day so I knew what I was doing at what time because I was so busy. I like to be organized and knew that I wouldn’t miss a session because of uni work.”

Her determination also came into play when ice skating suffered a major blow on the Island on the closure of its rink.

“When the rink shut down it also taught me that if you want something then don’t give up trying,” she says. “With it being so much harder to train without a home rink the team really had to pull together to put out a strong performance which we would be proud of.”

It’s no surprise, then, that with such a positive attitude that Beth would not be daunted at the prospect of going to Australia to continue skating. Her new team, Nova, has competed in the senior division since 2011. Since then they have been Australian champions and have represented Australia at the senior world championships in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

Her desire to go travelling after university led to the move.

“I have always wanted to go to Australia and skating is something which I love and didn’t want to leave,” says Beth. “I was planning on going to travelling at the end of the year, and my family suggested that maybe I do both. I saw Nova skate at the Trophy d’Ecosse in 2016 and I remember loving both their programmes and how they skated. I sent an email to their coach and now I am off on an amazing adventure and ready to work hard when I get there.

“Joining Nova will allow me to train more and improve my synchro. It will also allow me to travel, as the team is so far away I will be going to compete in some different competitions, such as in Sydney, which will be an amazing opportunity. I am so excited to do internationals with the team and get to training.”

In the past Nova has competed internationally in the French Cup at Rouen, the Spring Cup in Milan, and the Trophy d’Ecosse in Dumfries: Nova were bronze medallists at the Trophy d’Ecosse in 2016. With an international schedule ahead of her, Beth is almost certain to come across her old team-mates, including the Jewels and, of course, Gemma in Team Surprise. With Beth and Gemma having a shared friend in Solway Stars’ Molly Coxon, now skating for Nexxice juniors in Canada, British supporters at internationals may well be raising a baffling array of flags.

Fittingly, it is an international that provides one of Beth’s personal highlights.

“One of my most memorable moments,” she says, “would have to be competing at Junior Worlds with all my family watching. It was so lovely for them to come and see me skate at such a big competition.”

But she’ll also take with her the special moment provided this year at the British Synchronized Skating Championships as a member of Wight Jewels.

“The long programme was Lion King, which is one of my favourites,” she says. “After the short we knew we had nothing to lose, so we just went for it. We put all our effort into the routine and so much emotion that by the end we didn’t worry about the score as we knew we couldn’t have done anything more. When I looked around at the end most of the team was in tears and we were so happy that we had finally skated the long programme how we wanted.”

Beth leaves for Australia on 5 August. iowskaters wishes her well and looks forward to seeing her soon in competition on the international circuit


Team Nova: http://www.iceskatingbrisbane.com.au/

Beth (aloft, right) in training with Wight Jewels on Ryde seafront

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Left to right: Arwen, Lara and Eloise

The following IW skaters passed NISA tests at Planet Ice Gosport on 17 July:

Field Moves
Level 2:
Lara Harrison
Level 4: Eloise Hayward

Free and Elements
Level 1:
Arwen Rowden

All results are subject to confirmation by NISA.

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The final of Planet Ice’s Artistic Figure Skating Competition at Coventry Skydome Arena on 15 July saw skaters from the IW and Gosport join forces to take on skaters from other Planet Ice rinks.

The combined IW and Gosport team proved a force to be reckoned with, dominating the competition by medalling in all but two of the events and taking the overall title.  As well as giving skaters a chance to show off their artistic routines the competition also allowed parents to show off their prop-making skills (Howard Smith!).

Results of individual IW and Gosport skaters were as follows:

Skate Excellence levels 5-8: Silver, Mollie Britten (Gosport).

Bronze, Silver and Gold passport: Silver, Anneliese Smith (IW). This was a fantastic skate from Anneliese as Moana with her amazing boat. Anneliese had 14 skaters in her section and the girl who went on two before her, had the same music, but Anneliese dazzled the judges with her routine and smile.

NISA levels 1-4: Bronze, Sophia Elliott (IW). A really tough section for Sophia, who skated her heart out to the Wizard of Oz. She had problems with her costume switch halfway but kept her cool and the judges didn’t even notice. Well done Sophia.

NISA Levels 5-8: 4th, Amy World (IW). Amy performed a wonderful skate to Bake a Cake . She was suffering with injuries but persevered through the pain as she didn’t want to let her team down.

Solo Adults: Silver, Melody Sharifi (IW). A fun, high energy skate from Melody that got everyone clapping along to her Willy Wonka routine.

Artistic Groups: Bronze, Eloise Hayward and Arwen Rowdon. The group section was 2 to 16+, so our duo of pirates Eloise and Arwen did a fantastic job to secure a bronze. Well done girls.

Artistic Groups Adults: Silver, Melody Sharifi and Kerry Baynes (IW). Melody and Kerry’s Blades of Glory was amazing – highly entertaining and superbly skated.

Inter-rink Show and Skate: Silver, Gosport. A great skate from the Gosport skaters. For most of them it was their first competition away, the costumes were brilliant and so was their performance.

It was a really fun competition and great to watch. The standard was very high so the IW and Gosport team did everybody proud by winning the gold medal position overall.

The IW and Gosport team

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IW skater Nikita Heathfield was in action at Dundee IJS Open (14 to 16 July) competing at junior level. Nikita currently attends trains at Dundee Ice Arena.

Nikita was sixth in the short programme event with a score of 30.76, and sixth in the free programme event with a score of 52.40.

Results: http://www.johnds.org/Dundee17/

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The committee has decided to introduce a skater of the month award to reward a skater’s commitment, drive and passion for the sport. Skaters could receive the award for being a great team player showing determination, tenacity, improvement, team spirit and good sportsmanship.

Skater of the Month, June 2017: Ali Wright

Our skater of the month award for June goes to Ali Wright. She recently rejoined the club – Ali had been struggling to keep skating when our home rink closed and the Hot Fossils stopped skating as a team. She has shown fantastic team spirit, always wishing the skaters well and always smiling. Ali represented the Isle of Wight in the Gosport versus Isle of Wight friendly, performing a fantastic baton-twirling artistic routine and gaining valuable points to help the team secure the overall winning score.

Ali said she was incredibly nervous and it was her first  competition as a solo skater.

Coach Terri Smith said “ This was Ali’s first solo competition ever after having months of not skating. What an amazing achievement to help our team win the trophy. Ali demonstrated great performance and talent with her baton on the ice, one judge had her in second place, Well done Ali.”

Ali will receive 1 x Gosport patch session complements of the IWID&FSC.

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Our skaters at the 2017 Gosport v Isle of Wight competition

Our skaters have again brought medals back to the Island – this time from the annual inter-club competition between Gosport and the IW. Gosport is where our skaters train since Ryde Arena closed last October and they have become good friends with members if Gosport Club, although now was the time for them to become rivals once again.

First to compete were the synchro teams in the Sue Buckingham Cup. Representing the Island were our three youngest teams, Wight Sequins, Wight Crystals and Wight Sparkles. But it was the Sparkles that shone by taking bronze: Gosport’s teams took the top two medals. The medalling Sparkles team members were: Jess Curtis, Sophia Elliott, Maisy Foreman, Jess Gruber, Eloise Hayward, Courtney Lane, Lily McDevitt, Savannah Randall, Arwen Rowdon, Anneliese Smith, Lydia Soar, Anna Temporin, Ellie Watts, Josie Watts, Jasmine Young and Louisa Young.

Next on the ice were the individual level one and under skaters. Eloise Hayward won gold for the IW with her Maleficent artistic programme. Next were the level two to five skaters, and again the IW took gold with Jess Curtis and her Beauty and the Beast programme; Sophia Elliott won bronze skating to the Wizard of Oz.

Level 6 and above saw another IW gold with Amy World cooking up a storm with Bake A Cake, closely followed by Roxie Collins dancing off with silver to A New-fangled Tango.

Next it was the turn of the IW’s  adults to take to the ice and they showed the young skaters how to keep the medals coming with Melody Samiee getting the gold ticket with her Charlie And The Chocolate Factory programme.

Both young and older groups of two to four skaters took their turn next . In the level one and unders, gold was rightly won by the IW’s excellent interpretation of the cult ice skating film Blades of Glory, closely followed by our Pirates stealing the silver treasure. Level 2 and over saw the IW win another medal with the high-flying Magnificent 4 swooping in to take silver.

With the IW’s amazing run of podium places, it was a fabulous end to the day with the IW club winning the trophy overall.

As always, IW coach Terri Smith was rinkside supporting all the skaters and seeing all their hard work and training pay off. She said: “Passion and dedication won the trophy. Island skaters and parents have just knuckled down and continued their training at unsociable hours and extra costs to allow their children’s dreams to continue and reach their potential. It was lovely to see our adults competing too.

“This competition was a fun, artistic-style competition showing not just skating skills but also skaters’ ability to perform on the ice. Many skaters had to compete in higher classes just to field a team, again showing their amazing team spirit and sportsmanship.

“Everyone who skated for the IW made winning that trophy possible. Other skaters winning important points were Anneliese Smith, Maisy Foreman, Izzy Curtis, Keelin Scholes, Courtney Lane, Alison Wright and Steve Wood – a massive well done. After nine months without a rink you all truly surprise me with your drive and passion for our sport.

“Also a thank you to Gosport Skating Club for hosting the event and accommodating our skaters in events we could enter. Also, a big thank you to Wightlink for their continued support to our teams. They help to make it all possible!”

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