NEW Addington figure skater Jessica Marjot scooped gold at the British Solo Ice Dance Championships in Sheffield last weekend. At just the tender age of 14, she wowed the crowd and judges to become the new British Senior Ladies Champion. For this category, skaters go up to the age of 29, so to win at such a young age is a fantastic achievement. And mother Ruth was extremely proud to see her daughter showcase her talent on the national stage, while also putting south London on the map in the world of figure skating. "She is over the moon, really delighted," she said. "Finally all the hard work has paid off, myself and all our family are so proud of her. "Training went well heading into the championships, but Jessica didn't expect to win it. "We knew she'd do quite well though. I guess it was a little bit unexpected as well for me but her coaches thought she'd have a chance of doing well. "Competitors in this age category go up to 29, and I think one of them was nine months older than Jessica, but she was the youngest one in the Senior Ladies category. Skating to classics 'Old Black Magic' and 'Me And My Shadow', Jessica demonstrated lovely free leg positions throughout her program, which contained an L4 combination pose and an L4 twizzle sequence to finish. And Ruth says that an innocent trip to the ice rink back in 2003 began her daughter's affection to the sport. "At the beginning of the season the coaches picked the songs which fit the style of dance – they had to be quick step style of music this year," she said. "The coaches picked them because they know what works best and Jessica loved it. She has never won anything at championship level before. "Jessica has been skating for 11 years now. It was a complete accident on how she got into the sport. "We took her along one day when she was tiny and she loved it. The following week, she joined up with the 'Learn to Skate' class and from there she hasn't looked back." It's certainly become a passion of Jessica's, who trains every day and every week under some excellent coaches, including a former world champion. And to progress on further, the youngster, who attends Harris Academy in Purley, will need to find a male skate partner in the future. "Jessica trains five days a week currently at Streatham Ice Rink, working it around school and then at the weekends," said her mother Ruth. "There are three coaches Jessica trains under. One is Diane Towler MBE, who is four-time world champion, and Diane's twin daughters Candice and Phillipa. "Candice is a former British junior national champion. "Jessica can make a good career out of the sport, absolutely. That's been the main goal, but last weekend will give her that extra boost to believe she can do it. "She just needs to find a partner now. She can't do it by herself so we have to find a boy and see how that goes. "We have to keep our open eyes and see what happens." And following the 14-year-old's win, a lot of others at Streatham will be inspired to continue or take up the sport. Indeed, many kids at a very young age are going along to train. "The sport seems to be getting popular in the area," said Ruth. "There are a lot more people coming down. A lot of little kids now are training with Jessica too, just like she did at that age a long time ago. "That is nice to see for the area."
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