Natasha McKay fears 'whole generation' of figure skaters have been lost

By Tyrone SmithBBC Scotland Sport
Natasha McKay
Natasha McKay hopes next year's World Championships can go ahead

Natasha McKay fears "a whole generation" of figure skaters may have been lost because of the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Four-time British champion McKay, 25, trains at Dundee Ice Arena, the only major rink in the country opening its doors as lockdown measures are eased.

Other facilities are keeping their doors closed, despite getting the go ahead from the government to re-open.

"No-one was getting to the ice rink," McKay told BBC Scotland.

"So no-one could then go to learn to skate and learn how to skate. I fear that we have lost a whole generation with it."

Her concerns are echoed by her coach, Simon Briggs. "People are of course a little bit cautious to come back in," he said. "So we are making everything as safe as possible but there is still a caution around it.

"I know what is involved in figure skating, in ice hockey, to get to an elite level you need that conveyor belt running. We have kind of lost half a year and you could potentially say we have lost a year.

"And if you lose a year with those potential athletes not being there, then of course there is going to be a knock-on effect somewhere and I do fear that it could be as drastic as that."

McKay will not be able to defend her British title in November after the competition joined the growing list of sporting events to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

But she hopes January's European Championships in Croatia and March's World Championships in Sweden will not be affected.

"I am just hoping that they go ahead," she added. "The worlds is the biggest one for me as that is where I have to qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"It is the biggest year of my career, definitely, to make sure that I get that spot for the Olympics and make sure that I get to go."

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