Girls lacing up for nationals

Ipswich skaters, from left, Linda Wild and her son Mark, 11, Jade Warren-Baskerville, 14, and Sharon Hurst, right, and her daughter Courtney, 8, are all smiles after starring at the Queensland Speedskating Championships.
Ipswich skaters, from left, Linda Wild and her son Mark, 11, Jade Warren-Baskerville, 14, and Sharon Hurst, right, and her daughter Courtney, 8, are all smiles after starring at the Queensland Speedskating Championships. David Nielsen

IPSWICH'S female roller skating speed demons are lacing up for the national speed skating championships in Sydney, New South Wales after enjoying success in last year's Queensland championships.

The Bundamba Speed Skating team had sore necks after they collected a swag of gold medals at the Queensland Championships in September, including dominant performances in the junior categories.

The mother and daughter combination of Sharon and Courtney Hurst were outstanding with eight medals between them.

Eight-year-old Courtney proved a star in the making, picking up four gold medals.

Unfortunately, Courtney will not be one of the 12 Ipswich-based skaters heading to Blacktown on the outskirts of Victoria to compete against the fastest male and female skaters in Australia.

“She won four medals at the State championships and she has only been doing the sport for a year and a half,” her mother and Bundamba speed skating team leader Sharon said.

“The way the system works you can not compete at nationals until you are 10-years-old and she will have to wait two years.”

“I won't be going either, but there are around 12 of our team and I'm pretty confident we will be successful.”

Hurst said she was confident the team would enjoy further success in Victoria in the event, which begins on January 16.

“I think we will be able to bring back some gold medals actually,” Hurst said.

“If you place at the national titles then you get the chance to go to the Oceanic Speed Skating Titles later this year and then the worlds.

“We have a chance of getting some skaters into the Oceanic Speed Skating titles at least.”

The sport in Ipswich had been declining during the previous years but saw a resurgence in 2010.

“We do struggle for numbers at times and we were struggling to get people involved but its becoming popular again,” Hurst said.

“It's a great sport for fitness so if that's what you're looking for you should get involved.”

The sport of speed skating is similar to cycling in that it can be both individual and team based and is heavily strategic.

Skaters often form packs or pacelines in which skaters line up behind a lead skater, thereby saving energy by skating in their draft.

During the course of a race skaters will attack, speeding up the pace to eliminate weak competition.

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