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Bright Spots For Irish Ice Skating Amidst 2020 Challenges

Despite the past twelve months presenting major obstacles for our association and members, 2020 has not been without its highlights for Irish ice skating.

January was a hectic month with the conclusion of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland’s seasonal Emerald Skate lessons, a test session and the annual Winter Challenge. Internationally, Conor Stakelum represented Ireland at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria, while Ryan and Sean McAnuff flew the flag at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Ava Ryan became the first female short track speed skater from Ireland to participate at the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Bormio, Italy.

In February, Tara Donoghue continued to make history for Irish ice skating. At the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, she placed 11th and 18th in the mass start and 3000 metres races respectively, the highest placements ever for an Irish skater at an ISU Championships. The same month saw the Irish National Figure Skating Championships held at Lee Valley, London where five titles were decided. While it turned out to be one of the final domestic events on the Irish sporting calendar to take place before an initial lockdown in March, the effects of the pandemic were already being felt with the shipment of the championships medals from China being delayed.

Tara Donoghue was the recipient of an ISU Development Programme Junior Scholarship in May becoming only the second Irish athlete ever to be awarded.

Odhrán Allen and Clara Peters were welcome additions to the ISAI Board of Directors in July. Later in the month, the ISAI announced its largest ever national team for figure skating and speed skating.

With a slew of events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, it was October before Elizabeth Golding and Sophia Tkacheva became the first national team members to compete internationally when they took part in the Budapest Trophy in Budapest, Hungary.

In November, Golding was back in Budapest for the Santa Claus Cup where she finished fourth.

The ISAI’s Annual General Meeting went online in December with members virtually attending via Zoom.

2021 looks like it will be challenging both domestically and internationally for the foreseeable future with the ISAI’s Emerald Skate lessons for the 2020/2021 winter season and the ISU European Figure Skating Championships next month, for which Sam McAllister had been selected, already cancelled. The ISAI will continue to prioritise the health and safety of its members as we look forward to the day normal activities can be resumed.

 

New Directors Join ISAI Board

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) is pleased to announce that Odhrán Allen and Clara Peters have joined the ISAI Board of Directors with immediate effect.

Odhrán Allen is a member of the ISAI Figure Skating Technical Committee and qualified as an International Judge with the International Skating Union (ISU) in 2017. He is an occupational therapist and currently works as Chief Strategy Officer with the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland.

“I am honoured to have joined the ISAI Board and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the running and administration of the Association,” Allen said. “I am passionate about ice skating and look forward to playing my part in supporting the national federation to sustain and grow the sport in Ireland.”

In 2008 Clara Peters was the first ice skater to represent Ireland in international competition. She is a seven-time national champion and competed four times at both the European and World Figure Skating Championships. She qualified as a National Technical Specialist in 2019.

“After many years competing on the international stage, I am excited to be back working with the grassroots of Irish skating and growing the passion for ice at home,” Peters said.

Allen and Peters were co-opted to the ISAI Board in line with the ISAI Constitution to assist with the workload of the Association. Both will stand for election at the 2021 ISAI Annual General Meeting (AGM).

 

McAllister 12th At Golden Bear

Sam McAllister participated in the Golden Bear in Zagreb, Croatia over the October Bank Holiday weekend.

McAllister began the event with his short programme. He attempted a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip and a double Axel. His flying sit spin was also graded Level 4. He received 52.94 points for the segment to put him in 13th overnight.

The Irish senior champion returned to the ice two days later for the free skating. He opened his routine with a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and attempted three other triple jumps. Both a flying sit spin and a change-foot combination spin were Level 4 and he earned 89.75 for his free. With a total score of 142.69 points, McAllister moved up to finish in 12th place overall.

You can view full results of the competition here.

McAllister Top Ten At Halloween Cup

Ireland’s Sam McAllister skated to a top ten finish at the Halloween Cup in Budapest, Hungary which concluded earlier this evening.

In the short programme, McAllister performed his routine to “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck and attempted a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination before going on to land a triple flip and a double Axel. He earned a score of 51.78 points which put him in 12th place at the midway through the event.

Skating to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film soundtrack, McAllister took to the ice for his free skating which included four triple jumps and two Level 4 spins. He received 98.89 points and an eighth place for the free and finished the competition with a combined total of 150.67 moving up to tenth place overall.

Figure skating development team member Dillon Judge competed in the Junior Men’s short programme on the first day of the event where he came tenth. Unfortunately, due to medical reasons, he had to withdraw and did not appear for the free skating.

Golding Breaks Records At Italian Junior Grand Prix

Elizabeth Golding (15) completed her second International Skating Union (ISU) Junior Grand Prix assignment of the season today in Egna, Italy.

On the first day of competition, Golding skated her “Masquerade Waltz” short programme. She included double Axel, triple Salchow-double toe loop and double loop attempts in her routine which also featured a Level 4 combination spin. She scored 31.06 points which put her in 26th place halfway through the event.

The following day, the Irish Junior champion took to the ice at Wurth Arena for the free skating. She attempted two double Axels and a triple Salchow in the programme to a selection of music by Two Steps from Hell. She earned a score of 60.70 for the segment which gave her a total of 91.76. Both marks represent new Irish Junior records and moved her up to a 24th place finish.

Detailed Results

Short Programme (YouTube)

Free Skating (YouTube)

McAllister and Stakelum Take On Nebelhorn Trophy

The season steps up another gear this week as Irish figure skaters Sam McAllister (20) and Conor Stakelum (26) compete in the men’s event at the prestigious Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany (26-28 September).

This will be the second foray onto the international stage for both men this season. Last month, Stakelum and McAllister skated at the Tayside, Trophy in Dundee, United Kingdom where they placed fourth and fifth respectively. The Nebelhorn Trophy will be their first International Skating Union (ISU) Challenger Series event of the season and represents an increased level of competition. They will face off against skaters from 13 other nations in the short programme (Thursday, 26 September) and the free skating (Friday, 27 September).

The two Irish skaters have been drawn in the first warm-up group for tomorrow’s short (10.00hrs Irish time) with McAllister opening the event and Stakelum skating fifth out of the 18 skaters.

You can follow all the action on the live stream and the event results page.

ISAI AGM 2019

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on 18 September 2019.

Current members will have received an e-mail with further details on this year’s AGM. Please check your junk mail or spam folders if the e-mail does not appear in your inbox. If you still cannot retrieve the e-mail, please contact us at info@isai.ie to request it to be sent again.

McAllister and Stakelum Kick Off Season At Tayside Trophy

This week sees Irish figure skaters Sam McAllister and Conor Stakelum commence their season when they compete at the inaugural Tayside Trophy in Dundee, United Kingdom (12-13 August).

McAllister and Stakelum will first take to the ice for the Senior Men’s short programme tomorrow (12 August) which begins at 17:35. The following day (13 August) they will perform in the free skating from 12:19 to conclude the event.

McAllister is the reigning Irish national champion. Born in Ballymoney, County Antrim, he divides his training between Nottingham and Sheffield where he is coached by Margaret O’Neill.

Five-time national champion Stakelum will not have far to travel as he trains at the Dundee Ice Arena where the Tayside Trophy will be held. The Dubliner trains with Simon and Debi Briggs.

There will be a live stream for the short programme and the free skating. You can also follow the competition via the event results page.