Meet Lilly Williams-Howell, a talented young skater from Prestatyn, in North Wales.
Lilly, who is now 11 years old, has been skating since age 7, and is now very close to realising her dream of representing her country. After a lot of training and practice, she now has the chance to skate at an international competition for Team GB. We talked to Lilly a little bit about her skating, and her hopes for the future.
How do you feel about skating, Lilly?
Skating is my life, I am happiest when I’m skating. When things are tough at school it always makes me feel happy. I love it when I get my bit just right.
How would you describe your training schedule?
I train for 17 hours a week, although only 3 hours of that are lessons. I have the best coach, Hayley Pardon, and she advises me on what to do. I also do 2 hours off the ice, so it isn’t just about skating. I stretch daily at home and I also practise my jumps at home to help me with rotation. In the off-ice classes, we stretch and work on jumps and what we call ‘explosiveness’ which is about how high you go.
That sounds very busy! You must have no time to sleep!
I have to get up really early, at 5am on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. I also help to coach the next generation of skaters on Saturdays after training.
What are your hopes for the future?
In the future I would like to keep up with my skating and hope to one day get to the Olympics but I know it will be a long hard journey.
We hear you have a chance to skate for Team GB! You must be very excited.
I am! It’s like a dream come true. But I feel upset that my family have to fund all of my sport because it means that they have to go without other things so that I can skate.
We don’t get any funding or grants from anywhere. I really hope that in the future one day there will be sport scholarships available to young talent in Britain, like there are in America and other countries. I am grateful to my family for helping me with my dream.
Unfortunately, there is little to no funding available to support our skating teams as they go to represent us, and Lilly’s family have so far had to cover all the costs themselves. This time, they are asking for your help.
Please help support Team GB, and not let this talent go to waste – every small amount helps! With no funding, then skaters will be forced to hang up their skates, as has already happened to some top athletes, who would otherwise be representing Great Britain in major international competitions.