Three teams from Absolutely Ice Arena’s synchronised ice skating club are heading off to compete at one of Europe’s most prestigious international competitions in March 2016, the Kempen Trophy in Belgium. One adult and two junior teams with a total of 35 skaters whose ages range from 14-60 will be competing against 48 teams from 10 countries during the competition which takes place from 25-28 March 2016.
The competition is the culmination of the synchronised ice skating season for the teams which have already competed in Cardiff in November, where its three junior teams all came home with bronze medals, and at the British Championships in January where its higher level junior team achieved the highest score ever for a Slough team at a synchronised competition.
Commented coach Ryan Sowter, who has been coaching the teams since 2012: “This is our fourth season of competing and the teams have worked extremely hard to achieve the increasingly higher goals we as a coaching team set. I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments.”
Teams from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Hungary, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland will be competing in the fourth edition of this international event.
With the Ice Arena due to close its doors for at least nine months in October whilst Slough Borough Council undertakes an estimated £7.7 million refurbishment the teams’ future is now in jeopardy with no temporary rink solution so far forthcoming.
Sowter added: “we are concerned that our teams are likely to fold in October. Many of the skaters have been with the team since its inception in 2011; they have literally grown up with us skating synchro. Some may move to other rinks and other synchro teams. Our teams, which have taken years of dedication to get to where we are now, will be no more. For the minority of skaters who do return, it is unlikely that I personally will be here to coach; you simply can’t afford to be out of work for nine months and I would have no option but to find work at other rinks. With no temporary rink in sight, it is extremely sad and upsetting for us and the skaters.”
Slough synchronised ice skating club chair Viv Byfield, whose daughter Andrea captains the Absolutely Allstars team, added: “We met with council representatives the other day and we were disappointed by their lack of understanding of the sport in general. As users we want to do whatever we need to in order to keep our skaters skating during this refurbishment.
We have been further disappointed at the lack of consultation. The fact that the rink’s specialist users such as synchro, hockey and the additional needs group SPICE make up almost half the rink’s revenue and it is these users who are unlikely to return if no temporary solution is found, raises some serious questions about the new rink’s future business model.”
For more information from Slough Synchronised skating teams, please contact:-
Viv Byfield, chair, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Kirlew, secretary, e: email@example.com