South Wingfield synchronized skater wins national junior championship

Matlock resident Abigail Wibberley, 11, was part of the Ice Pops squad which won the British Synchronized Skating Championships in January 2019.
Matlock resident Abigail Wibberley, 11, was part of the Ice Pops squad which won the British Synchronized Skating Championships in January 2019.

A youngster from South Wingfield is gliding on a high this month after her synchronized skating team won a national championship.

Abigail Wibberley, 11, was part of the Ice Pops squad which emerged victorious in the Elementary category of the British Synchronized Skating Championships in January.

The Crich Junior School pupil has been training at the Nottingham Synchronized Skating Academy for three years, with parents Andy and Rachel driving her to the city three or four times a week, with competition days often starting at 4am.

She said: “I really enjoy skating because myself and my family have become part of a much bigger family. We travel all over the UK competing with some fantastic teams.

“Ice skating is my world and I love being part of such an amazing team who have so much fun and laughter even when we are on the serious days of competition.”

Not only did the team win the competition, their shark-themed routine also set a new national points score in the first championship ever broadcast by the BBC.

Their success followed similar stellar performances at contests in London, Wales and Scotland this season.

But Abigail is already focused on challenges to come and said: “I have a tough few months ahead of me now as we are back into training and my next aim is to be successful for next season’s selections and represent my country and skate abroad.”

Abigail was inspired to take up the sport by the CBBC documentary series Ice Stars, taking her mum and dad by surprise.

Andy said: “Like anyone that age, she had been through ballet and street dance phases and then given them up, and we thought this might be another one.

“But when she put on a pair of skates it all fit together. It’s such a skilled and demanding sport, with all the complexity of up to 16 skaters working from memory, at speed and in perfect harmony.”

He added: “There is no room for error on blades which can be inches away from your fellow skaters so trust and teamwork is essential, otherwise it all falls apart.

“Watching them win was nerve-wracking as a parent. It’s so risky. If one goes down, they all do. But we knew instantly it was the best they had ever skated. It was amazing to see.”