A DRONGAN teenager has won a silver medal at an international ice skating event in Slovenia.
Ellie Holmes, a pupil at Auchinleck Academy, was representing the UK in the Basic Novice category of the tournament when she skated to success.
The 14-year-old is establishing a reputation in the sport, as a member of the GBR development squad and was unlucky not to make the podium at a similar event in Bulgaria in October.
Proud mum Avril told the Chronicle: “She has become a better skater — although you do not get to compete abroad in the first place unless you are a good skater. Since Bulgaria though, Ellie has improved and got a higher technical rating in Slovenia as she was better prepared.”
She took up skating at just three-years-old and now trains at Auchenharvie Ice Rink in Saltcoats, which takes incredible commitment and stamina for Ellie...and her mum.
Avril said: “She used to train at Ayr Ice Rink but Auchenharvie is a much bigger rink. Ayr was unsuitable and Ellie is now getting better all the time.
“She is a member of Magnum Skating Club, which is based at Auchenharvie and trains six times a week between there and the Galleon Centre in Kilmarnock.
“That means getting up at 6am every day before she goes to school and 4am on a Saturday and it is myself who drives her before I start my own work as a nursery teacher.”
While she would like to take up ice skating as a profession — Ellie would love to be part of Disney On Ice — her skates remain firmly on the ground as she follows her career ambition of becoming a physiotherapist.
Meanwhile, she hopes to be nominated in East Ayrshire’s Talented Athlete project which would allow her access to even better facilities while receiving funding of £200.
Although she applied two years ago and was unsuccessful, Avril hopes that having gained international recognition, Ellie will qualify this time round.
“Raising funds is difficult and places restrictions on her skating and I am very grateful to Cumnock and Doon Valley Minerals Trust for helping Ellie get to Slovenia. I can’t thank them enough. I would also like to thank her coaches Jennifer Holmes, Kirsty Cameron and Lana Bagen for all their support,” added Avril.