Nova Scotia sending team of youth speed skaters to Alberta championships
Aoife Marshall and Ella Arruda-Kyriakidis, both 14, hope they made the cut
January 29, 2020, 3:40 pm ASTLast Updated: January 29, 2020, 3:44 pm
Eight young speed skaters from Nova Scotia are heading to Alberta next month to compete in a national competition.
Aoife Marshall and Ella Arruda-Kyriakidis are among the youth with their hearts set on attending the Canadian Youth Long Track Championships in February. Both girls are 14 now, but Arruda-Kyriakidis competed in the younger age group because her birthday came after the cutoff date.
During an Atlantic Cup qualifier in Halifax over the weekend, both placed second overall in their age groups, and their race times met the qualifications to attend the Alberta championships.
“I’m excited to go to Red Deer [Alberta] because I want to improve and hopefully I can go to the Canada Cup next year,” said Marshall.
The cutoff age for the Canadian Youth Long Track Championships is 14, so this would be the last year Marshall could compete. The Canada Cup is the junior and senior championship for speed skating.
Marshall and Arruda-Kyriakidis also both competed in the Canadian Youth Long Track Championships last year and are now looking to beat their old times.
Marshall, who has been speed skating competitively since she was 11, trains twice a day every day on top of racing every Sunday. She said her motivation to succeed is strong competition.
“If you’re doing well in Nova Scotia and you compete with everyone else in Canada, there is always going to be someone better than you, and you just have to keep going to be the best,” said Marshall.
Arruda-Kyriakidis has been skating for seven years and prefers to focus on improving her own times and not worrying about the competition around her. She said she enjoys long races.
“You’re kind of skating your own race, you’re going against the time. So it’s what you can do and not what other people can do if you want to beat them,” said Arruda-Kyriakidis.
The Atlantic Cup isn’t just a qualifier for the Alberta championships. People from all over the Maritimes came to Halifax just to beat their own personal times at the Oval, which is one of the only outdoor places where people can practice long track speed skating in the Maritimes.
Some skaters were novices, while others, like 73-year-old Friedemann Brauer, have been skating for over 40 years.
“I feel alive when I do it,” said Brauer, who moved to Halifax from Germany 40 years ago.
Youth will be announced this week
The names of the eight youth who will attend the championships in Alberta will be announced later this week, said Greg Milton, president of the Nova Scotia Masters Speed Skating Club.
Nova Scotia has eight spots open for the winners of the Atlantic Cup to go to the Canadian Youth Long Track Championships. Those spots are for youth ranging in age from 11 to 14.
The cost of getting there can be significant. Though some compensation is granted to athletes via Speed Skate Nova Scotia, this does not extend to guardians who accompany the youths.
“That’s a restriction sometimes for people,” said Milton.
The Canadian Youth Long Track Championships in Red Deer, Alberta will take place on Feb. 8 and 9.
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