Top Team GB junior skater Lily Bakhtiari has been honing her double flips, spins and step sequences at Telford Ice Rink due to her usual base in north Wales being used as a coronavirus vaccine centre.
The dedicated 15-year-old, who lives in Mold, is no stranger to travelling miles at home and abroad with her family to compete in an effort to see her dreams come true.
Lily has been been making use of the popular facilities in Telford town centre to practise.
She is the current advanced novice British ice dance champion for the 2019 season and took the silver medal in the junior under-21s category at the recent British Celebration of Ice Dance, which was also attended by the 1984 Winter Olympic Champions Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean, the stars of ITV’s Dancing on Ice series.
For the event held in Sheffield earlier this month Lily danced to music from the Disney hit film Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, and hopes she will be snapped up for the proposed British Academy of Ice Dance as a result of her performance, along with her other efforts to compete at a high standard.
Lily said: “Torvill and Dean were watching and announced that there was going to be a new special training camp for young British skaters to train at an elite level because there is nothing here in the UK like that for skaters.
“I think a camp like that is a good thing and for young people in the sport to get dedicated training space at home especially if you can’t afford to travel abroad to train at similar camps.
“I love skating. You can express yourself in a unique way on the ice. Unfortunately too few people are involved in the sport, but that’s mainly because there are not many ice rinks. I like it here at Telford and the staff are really nice.
She added: “It is a long way for us to travel, but it’s the same for everyone at the moment.
"We’ve been driving two hours one-way here because our home rink hasn’t been able to reopen as it's being used as a vaccination centre.
"I’m glad it is being used in in the pandemic fight, though.”
She has also recently passed her level 10 grades in ice dance, meaning that she is officially now a senior athlete.
And as a top UK ice dancer Lily, who says double flips were among her favourite jumps, was previously selected to compete at the Copenhagen Dance Cup event in Denmark where she won a gold medal.
Her coach Ryan Southan added: “Lily has been skating since she was aged seven, and started ice dancing shortly after that. Her current aim is to find a dance partner and she would like to go to the Junior World Championships and the Youth Olympics.
“She wants to continue to compete at an international level going forward.
“She will be applying to join the new academy and if accepted she will be able to attend monthly training camps in Sheffield.”