By Mark Etheridge
Three of South Africa’s rising figure skating stars returned from Europe recently having picked up some invaluable experience from their international peers.
The trio of Donatella Glatter, Sinali Sango and Jaydean Brits first took part at the World Development Trophy in Poland, an event made up of two days of competition and followed by a five-day training camp.
Glatter was first up of the South Africans in action. It was her first international event, and understandably she was rather nervous.
Healthwise it’s reported she was not feeling her best, meaning she didn’t skate to her full potential, making a few elementary mistakes and soon realising it’s vital to get value on spins and steps.
Her marks were below what she is capable of and she ended in 23rd place.
Sango was up next in a strong group of boys, all pretty evenly matched. He put in a credible performance with his only major mistake being a fall on the opening 2A jump.
Earlier he’d landed it beautifully in the warm up but his first 2A in international competition would have to wait until the following week. He ended up seventh but was clearly disappointed in himself as he knew he could have been much higher up.
Brits competed the following day and had the tension that goes with drawing first. She had a great warm up but after an error on a 2F jump saw her taking a tumble it seemed she erred on the side of caution in the rest of her routine. She was also below her usual score and placed 17th.
It was soon evident that the Polish competition was of a far higher standard than previous trips to the World Development trophies held in the Philippines and general consensus was that there were quite a few teams that didn’t really fit the ‘development’ portfolio.
Moving on to the final competition of the European adventure and they hit pay dirt as Sango picked up bronze in the eighth Rooster Cup, an ISU competition held in Paris, France.
It was a proud moment for Sango, as he climbed up onto the podium behind two French boys for the first time in his budding international career as a singles skater.
There’s no doubting he made both coach and country proud. He skated well in the free programme and clearly showed his potential, receiving praise from a number of European coaches, who commented on his performance and the quality of technical elements.
Next up for South African figure skating fans are the national championships on 23-34 May at Grand West Ice Arena in Cape Town. Around 50 solo skaters and four synchronised teams are expected to be in action.
In the picture Sango executes a flying butterfly jump with a near-horizontal body position and scissoring leg action in the air.