Emily is British champion three times over
- Credit: Archant
Premier League footballers who train a few hours every day in exchange for salaries which make merchant bankers feel underpaid might like to reflect on the commitment Emily Woods puts in to stay at the top of her sport.
The 14-year-old from Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, has just been crowned as Britain's champion roller skater for a third successive year. She trains every morning, except Thursday, at Lynn Grove High School before joining the rest of her classmates for lessons. And on weekends when she isn't competing she trains from 9am to 5pm every Saturday, and from 9am until 2pm on each Sunday.
Her reward for such dedictation is not riches or even celebrity in a sport which attracts next to no media attention and little sponsorship – but the satisfaction of proving herself, again and again, the very best in her age group.
Having won her first national title, at Espoir level (for skaters up to 12 years old), two years ago, Emily has now won back-to-back Cadet titles for artistic roller skating solo dance – the latest at Middlesbrough at the weekend.
On Saturday Emily skated her two compulsory dances, her first to the Denver Shuffle and the next to the Kent Tango, her combined marks putting her in first place. On Sunday she gave a brilliant performance in her Free Dance to retain her solo dance crown.
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Emily, who also finds the time to compete at netball, tennis and cross country running, has been skating for four and a half years with the Bradwell and Yarmouth-based Stalham Artistic Roller Skating Club, where she was soon joined by her older sister Celena.
Her latest success ensured that she kept her place in the GB Performance squad for the Cup of Europe in France in October.
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'You could tell as soon as she first started that she was a natural,' said coach Martin Pickering. 'In any sport you need to be a bit of a show off to succeed and for Emily the bigger the audience the more she likes it.
'What she has achieved in just over four years has been massive. We are very, very proud of her. She's tremendously dedicated and she also has a great attitude to the younger ones. We have a beginners class and Emily is always there helping out.'
Emily was not the only Stalham club member competing in the north-east. It was a first championship for Toni-Louise Lowe, also 14, and the Great Yarmouth High School pupil put on a strong performance at Cadet level.
Abbie Starsmeare, 13, impressed in the Espior category in her first Championship appearance while 14-year-old Emma Tennant, who has been with the club for just under a year, skated two strong freestyle programs at Cadet level.
If you would like to learn to skate contact Martin or Kerry Pickering – who helps Emily develop her routines – on 01493-655552 or 07903055346. Emily is supported by Yvonne Mason and Roll-Line.