How Blackpool is becoming the ice capital as teenager who trains at Blackpool Pleasure Beach Arena wins third at British Figure Skating Championships

Growing up, Isabella Todd loved watching the Hot Ice show at Blackpool Pleasure Beach Arena.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 7:20 am

As the 13-year-old from South Shore took to the ice rink for the first time with her family aged nine, she knew this was something she wanted to perfect, so she began training with the pleasure beach arena’s coaches Katie Stainsby and Swiss-born Oscar Peter.

Now after more than three years, Isabella has achieved fantastic results, placing third at the British Figure Skating Championships in what was her first national competition.

Katie said: “Isabella achieved an incredible result at the British nationals in the advanced novice girls category. She won the short round of the competition and landed in third place over all after the free skate, taking home the bronze.

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“Isabella has been training with us for a few years and she competed in qualifying competitions which took place around the UK earlier in the year. She competed against more than 45 girls in her category to reach the nationals where she then competed against the 13 best advanced novice girls in the country.”

Isabella said: “I really enjoyed competing for the very first time at British nationals and I am really thankful for all the support from my coaches Oscar Peter and Katie Stainsby, my family and all the wonderful skaters at Blackpool rink and their families.

“I can’t wait to compete in more international competitions very soon.”

Isabella is not the only ice skater in the family as her older sister Christianna, 15, also trains with Katie and Oscar. The siblings train in Blackpool for half the year and then also in China where they also live, as their dad John works over there for Dulwich College.

This year the girls also trained in Flims, Switzerland, at a summer camp. Oscar said: “It is extremely hard when the girls train back in China due to packed training sessions and not being able to run their competitive programs which is vital to competitive skaters.

“What the girls have achieved in their skating is incredible considering these factors. We are working very hard when we have the girls over in the UK and in Switzerland to keep them up to speed ready for competitions and training.”

Isabella and Christianna are planning a new season in which they hope to qualify again for nationals and also start to compete internationally for Great Britain.

Katie and Oscar say they are proud of all their students and will be getting students ready for another national competition in May 2020 where their novice ice dancers will compete. Last year, their young students Harry Bennett and Nikolet Wrigley took home the silver medal at their very first nationals.

Meanwhile three of their younger students will be appearing in the Dancing on Ice Christmas special show.

Katie added: “Blackpool ice arena has certainly put its stamp on the sport of ice skating and has a very impressive track record for championship skaters and also some of the best professional skaters in the business.

“Blackpool arena has had the most Dancing on Ice professional skaters hailing from its rink, including myself, Alex Demetriou, Tom Naylor, Stuart Widdall and Dan Whiston and at the moment, some of the country’s top skaters in all disciplines train here.

“Not too bad for a rink that is smaller than most.”