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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.

 

Cancellation of the 2021 European Figure Skating Championships

On 10 December, the International Skating Union (ISU) announced the cancellation of the 2021 European Figure Skating Championships scheduled to be held in Zagreb, Croatia (25-31 January 2021) due to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 global pandemic. It will be the first time since 1946 that the annual event will not take place.

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) had selected Sam McAllister to represent Ireland at the championships shortly before their cancellation was made public.

“After being selected for my first European Championships, it is incredibly sad news to hear that they have been cancelled,” McAllister said. “I believe it is the safest option for everyone, but it’s still hard as a skater not to represent your country at such a prestigious event.

“I want to thank the ISAI for selecting me and my team for helping me get to this point. We will keep grinding and pushing forward and there are many more years to come!”

Eight Figure Skaters Named To 2020/2021 ISAI National Team

The Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) have selected eight figure skaters to the ISAI National Team for the 2020/2021 season.

The following ISAI members have been chosen to represent Ireland on the international stage at International Skating Union (ISU) events:

Senior Men – Sam McAllister

Senior Men – Conor Stakelum

Junior Ladies – Adare Condon

Junior Ladies – Dracy Condon

Junior Ladies – Robyn Foster

Junior Ladies – Elizabeth Golding

Junior Ladies – Sophia Tkacheva

Junior Men – Dillon Judge

Sam McAllister retained his Senior National title in February this year. From Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, he is coached by Margaret O’Neill in Nottingham and Sheffield, England. This will be his fifth season as a National Team member.

Conor Stakelum is a five-time Senior National champion. A native of Dublin, he trains in Dundee, Scotland with Simon and Debi Briggs. He finished 34th at this year’s European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria.

Adare Condon placed fourth in the Junior Ladies event at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She trains under Megan Doyle and Tracy Doyle in Elmsford, New York. This is her first season as a member of the Irish National team.

Dracy Condon is the Junior Ladies bronze medallist at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She practices alongside her sister in New York City and is also a debut member of the Irish National team.

Robyn Foster competed at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships in February for the first time, but had to withdraw due to injury after the short programme. She trains in Coventry, England under Marina Serova and this will be her first season skating for Ireland.

Elizabeth Golding finished second in the Junior Ladies event at the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships. She divides her training time between Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Moscow, Russia. In 2019, she represented Ireland at ISU Junior Grand Prix events in Latvia and Italy.

Sophia Tkacheva is the 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships Junior Ladies champion. From Gorey, County Wexford, she trains on ice in Northern Ireland and Minsk, Belarus. This is her second season on the ISAI National Team.

Dillon Judge won his first Junior Men’s national title at the Irish Figure Skating Championships in February. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, he trains in Sheffield, England.

You can learn more about our national team members here.

Five Titles Decided At Irish Figure Skating Championships

The 2020 Irish Figure Skating Championships concluded earlier today at the Lee Valley Ice Centre in London with titles up for grabs in five different categories over the course of the two days of competition.

Sam McAllister retained the Senior Men’s title. The Ballymoney, County Antrim skater had a shaky start in the short programme where he fell on a double Lutz-triple toe loop combination and doubled a planned triple flip, but he rallied back with a double Axel and two Level 4 spins to score 41.27 points. In contrast to the short, McAllister opened his free skating with a clean triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and went on to land a triple flip and a second triple Lutz. He earned a free score of 101.41 to give him a total of 142.68 for the gold medal.

Five-time national champion Conor Stakelum was in the lead following the short, but subsequently withdrew before the free due to illness.

There were a record number entries in the Junior Ladies category this year and Sophia Tkacheva emerged as the winner. The Gorey, County Wexford native attempted a double Axel, a double flip-double toe loop combination and a double loop in the short to earn 28.02 which put her in a close third overnight. In the free, Tkacheva opened with two jump combinations and also attempted a triple Salchow during her routine in which she amassed a score of 55.85. She finished first in the free and overall with a total of 83.87 points.

Defending champion Elizabeth Golding was leading after the short and was narrowly beaten for the title. She came second in the free to take the silver medal with a total of 83.56. In her Irish Championships debut, Dracy Condon picked up bronze as she scored 80.19 points overall.

After winning the Advanced Novice title at last year’s Irish Championships, Dillon Judge took his first Junior Men’s title with a total of 80.68 points.

On the first day of competition, Laura Hegarty won the Intermediate Novice Ladies title with a total score of 21.96.

The day before her sister became Junior Ladies champions Justina Tkacheva was the winner of the Basic Novice Ladies event with an overall score of 18.38.

Full detailed results for the 2019 Irish Figure Skating Championships are available here.

McAllister 9th At Bosphorus Cup

Sam McAllister (21) competed this weekend at the Bosphorus Cup in Istanbul, Turkey where he represented Ireland in the Senior Men’s event.

The Irish senior champion began with the short programme on Friday, 29 November. Skating to “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck, he attempted a triple Lutz combination and landed a double Axel. He garnered a Level 4 for his closing change foot combination spin and scored 43.33 points which put him in 11th place.

McAllister was back on the ice on Saturday, 30 November for the free skating. In his “Pirates of the Caribbean” routine, he included four triple jumps and received Level 4 for a change foot combination spin. He was awarded a free score of 95.14 giving him a total of 138.47 and 9th place overall.

Full results for the Bosphorus Cup can be found here.

McAllister Flies Flag For Ireland At Bosphorus Cup

Irish figure skater Sam McAllister will be competing this weekend at the Bosphorus Cup (29-30 November) in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Irish senior champion will be on the ice tomorrow (Friday, 29 November) for his short programme with the competition beginning at 11:40hrs Irish time.  The following day he will return to compete in the free skating which starts at 10:00hrs.

The event will be streamed live online on YouTube and further information is available on the competition results page.

Stakelum 10th, McAllister 13th At Denkova-Staviski Cup

Irish figure skaters Sam McAllister and Conor Stakelum have completed their participation in the Senior Men’s event at the Denkova-Staviski Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria earlier today (14 November).

The first of the Irish entries to take to the ice for the short programme was Stakelum. He rotated a triple loop and went on to land a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a double Axel. He also executed three Level 4 spins and scored 59.44 points to place seventh at the interim stage.

In the following warm-up group, McAllister skated his short. He singled a triple Lutz and attempted a triple flip combination, while later on in his routine he landed a double Axel and had two of his spins graded Level 4. He received 47.89 points for the segment to place 14th.

In the free skating, McAllister was the first of the Irish competitors to perform. He opened with a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and went on to attempt three more triples. He also landed two double Axels and was awarded Level 4 for two of his spins. With a free score of 92.51 and a total of 140.40, the Irish senior champion finished in 13th place overall.

Stakelum began his free by doubling a planned triple loop and included four other triple jumps, two double Axels and three Level 4 spins in his programme. The five-time Irish senior champion scored 104.58 points for his free giving him a total of 164.02 for 10th place in the final standings.

Full detailed results for the Denkova-Staviski Cup can be viewed here.

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.

Irish Figure In Action At Halloween Cup

Two Irish figure skaters will compete this week at the Halloween Cup (17-18 October) in Budapest, Hungary.

Sam McAllister is entered in the senior men’s category at the event. At last month’s Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, McAllister finished 14th.

Dillon Judge was named to the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) Development Team for the first time this season. He will participate in the junior men’s event.

Both athletes will skate their respective short programmes on Thursday 17 October. They will conclude their competition with the free skating on Friday 18 October.

Website: http://halloweencup.eu/