British women encouraged to take up ice skating

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The National Ice Skating Association (NISA) is proud to support This Girl Can, a national campaign encouraging females in the UK to join skating programmes at their local ice rink.

This Girl Can – of which NISA is a commercial partner – is a national campaign developed by Sport England, a national organisation helping people and communities across the country create a sporting habit for life. It is a celebration of active women up and down the country who are getting involved in sports no matter what their ability.

As part of the campaign, NISA hopes to encourage even more females to get involved in ice skating and sign up to Skate UK lessons, available at a variety of ice rinks in England and Scotland.

The Skate UK programme is the only learn to skate course recognised by NISA, the national governing body. The lessons are delivered by NISA accredited coaches and combine fun with learning, enabling skaters to achieve fundamental skills of ice skating in eight stages.

Nick Sellwood, Chief Executive of the National Ice Skating Association (NISA), said: “This Girl Can is a positive campaign which is designed to give more females the confidence and motivation to participate in sport more regularly.

“The National Ice Skating Association is encouraging women of all ages and abilities to get involved in ice skating and the Skate UK programmes are a great way for people to enhance their skating potential”.

Figures released by Sport England have identified that there was a 27% increase in people participating in ice skating across a broad range of ability levels last year. Monthly participation figures show that 46,700 people took part in ice skating every month in 2014, of which, 64% were female.

Nick added: “We are really pleased to learn that more people are showing an interest in ice skating in England. With strong British athletes such as Penny Coomes, Charlotte Gilmartin and Elise Christie flying the flag at national level, we hope these lessons will inspire a new generation of skaters, whilst also appealing to those women looking for an alternative way to keep fit and have fun.”

Three times British Ice Dance Champion, Penny Coomes, aged 26, who is on NISA’s World Class Figure Skating Programme, competed at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics with her partner Nick Buckland. She commented: “I started skating when I was 8; I was at a skiing birthday party at Bracknell leisure centre and afterwards, I stood and watched the ice skating in complete awe. After it caught my eye that was it, that’s what I wanted to do. I started practicing at that very moment on the floor, I even pretended to ice skate on the slippery floors of supermarkets and pretty much everywhere I went.

“After I started skating, I lived and breathed it. I remember watching the figure skating on the television during the Olympic Games and I was determined to get there one day. I was never the most naturally talented but I worked the hardest and believed in myself. My advice to girls and women who want to get involved in sport would be exactly that; to believe in yourself, to love what you do, and to just keep going, keep pushing and keep striving for more. The mind is an amazing thing, if you set your mind to something, believe that you can do it, and you will!”

25 year old GB Short Track Speed Skater, Charlotte Gilmartin, who is on NISA’s World Class Short Track Programme and competed for Great Britain in the 2014 Winter Olympics, said: “I loved sport as a child, mostly copying anything my brother did. The sports I tried were all quite different, from jujitsu to football and roller hockey, which massively helped my skating ability later on in life. By the time I was 12, I had discovered short track speed skating after being spotted at a party. I went to my local club in Solihull where I instantly felt at home and trained twice a week where possible. Within three years, I had made the national team and had the chance to represent my country. It’s been an amazing journey that has taken me many places all over the world.

“I would love to spread the word about short track speed skating and encouraging more women and girls to get involved. Anyone can join at club level, at any age, and enjoy being part of a team. There are local races for those who are after a thrill and several training sessions every week for those looking to increase their fitness level. The next step is racing for your club across Europe and there is also the opportunity to make the national team, so there really is something for women of every age and ability to strive for”.

To find out more about This Girl Can, please visit

To find out more about ice skating in the UK, go to

To sign up to Skate UK lessons at your local ice rink, please visit: