Ipswich Skating Club trio receive Great Britain call

Ipswich Skating Club's Emilie Wix, Tom Fell and Josh Coleman who have been selected for a GB trainin

Ipswich Skating Club's Emilie Wix, Tom Fell and Josh Coleman who have been selected for a GB training camp which specialises in Long Track (ice) skating. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

They may be novices when it comes to their new sport, but don’t be surprised if members of Ipswich Skating Club are representing Great Britain at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The trio of Tom Fell, former national champion cyclist and rower Emilie Wix and Josh Coleman have been selected for a second Team GB Long-Track (ice) Skating trial, in Holland, this weekend.

The talented trio had never even skated on the ice until a month ago, but are now part of a bid to revitalise Long-Track in Great Britain.

NISA (National Ice Skating Association) are behind the bid with the ambition to send a GB team to the next Games in four years time.

The sport is raced on a 400m, oval skate track, of which there are none in the UK, meaning Tom, Emilie and Josh have to do their training abroad. The only time they can do Long-Track skating in Britain is when the Fens ice over, enabling the Fens Skating Championships to take place.

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The threesome’s swift progress on the ice can be attributed to the work they do at the skating club in Ipswich, where they also practice inline racing on wheels, and artistic skating on quad skates.

“We had Long-Track skating years ago and UK Long-Track are trying to bring the sport back,” said head coach Tom, who is also the chairman of the Federation of Inline Speedskating.

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“I have wanted to do the sport since I was a child and the recent weekend in Germany has kick-started it.

“The last camp was brilliant and there was a lot of like-minded people there, everyone was on the same page. This time, the emphasis will be placed on us achieving personal bests in all our 500m competitions.”

Tom, from Braintree, Woodbridge-based Emilie and former Felixstowe Academy student Josh fund themselves although they are helped with costs by Ipswich Skating Club.

Tom added: “It’s not an easy sport, and a couple of people that went on the training camp, that had previously done Short Track, were not able to skate on the ice.”

Ipswich Skating Club offers Inline, speed and artistic skating sessions, while newcomers can learn to skate.

The club meets at Gainsborough Leisure Centre on Fridays (5-7pm), Whitton Leisure Centre on Thursdays (5-7pm) and Felixstowe Academy on Saturdays between 12-2pm. For more information, contact Dave Nicholls on 01394 384704.

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