By Mike Pearson, News staff
Five skaters from Gateway Figure Skating School came home with medals from the Pat Abela Invitational skating competition in Aylmer, Ont. during the weekend of Jan. 18 and 19.
Ava Stechey, Payton Marr, and pairs sibling duo Brooke and Thomas Turner all won gold medals, while Kalysta Fletcher won silver.
Amanda Morelli, one of Gateway’s five figure skating coaches, was extremely proud of her students’ achievements. With state-of-the-art training facilities, the private skating school is attracting large numbers of athletes from outside Hamilton.
“Skaters from other clubs come here to utilize this amazing facility and the coaching staff,” said Morelli.
The five skaters each represented their own respective skating clubs while competing at the Pat Abela event.
Payton, a Grade 6 student from Burford, Ont., successfully balances a busy schedule of skating and academics. She trains three times each week at Gateway. Despite missing two days of school per week, she maintains high marks.
By making the most of Gateway’s training tools, including a running track, a harness safety apparatus and expert coaching, Payton is working to perfect her jumps. Her dream is to represent Canada at the Olympics.
“I want to get my double sal(chow) perfect,” she says.
After moving to Canada from England in 2010, Thomas and Brooke Turner took their training to new heights with the help of Gateway’s instructors. The siblings also receive sports-focused training at R.A. Riddell Sports Academy, a Hamilton Mountain school.
Thomas also takes advantage of off ice-training opportunities at McMaster University.
Thomas once considered making the switch to hockey. But after learning more about figure skating and honing his skills, he is firmly committed to his chosen sport, despite being the only boy currently enrolled at Gateway.
“I always thought it was fun how you could do all of these things on such a small blade,” said Thomas.
After a successful start to their season, Thomas and Brooke hope to find a place on the podium at this year’s Skate Ontario provincial finals.
Thomas, 13, is a Grade 7 student. Brooke, 9, attends Grade 4.
Gateway’s other medallists also travel from outside the area to Stoney Creek to take part in the school’s renowned programs.
Ava is an Ancaster resident and Kalysta hails from Harley, Ont., near Brantford.