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Young skater on a roll to world event

A young Wairarapa skater has worked extremely hard to move up in the ranks of artistic roller skating, and it’s all paying off.

When Aspen Fell laced up her first pair of skates and hit the rink at 14 years old, it was love at first glide.

“Mum took me to a learn-to-skate class in Whanganui and I instantly fell in love with it,” she said.

“But I had to work my butt off to catch up.”

Most skaters start at a much earlier age. Aspen said she had to push to get to a level where she would be considered for competitions.

“I had a lot of coaches tell me I wouldn’t make it to world level, but it just made me work harder.”

This drive to succeed meant Fell found herself overtraining, which she said had a detrimental impact on both her health and enjoyment of the sport.

“For a while, I was doing three hours a day, six days a week. I quickly realised it wasn’t good for me and didn’t make my training any better. I have a much better balance now.”

Grateful for the coaches who looked past her age to see her potential, Fell said it was all worth it when she won gold at the World Skate Oceania Championships last year.

But balance is still something of a challenge for Fell, who is juggling training towards qualifying for the World Championships with studying psychology online, teaching, and travel.

In June Fell will fly to Germany to train with a well-known skating club in Kiel and is eligible to enter the International Artistic Series Semifinal.

She previously trained with the Kiel club in 2019, and is looking forward to re-establishing her relationship with the club and coaches.

“It’s a different kettle of fish when you have to train by yourself. It’s really nice how everything is set out already when I go there,” she said.

Fell is coached by renowned New Zealand skaters Katelyn Kennedy and Sarah Jane, the latter of whom is the only New Zealand skater to have placed three times at the Artistic Skating World Championships.

Jane said Fell’s training was focused on perfecting new routines and getting them ready for the World selection process.

“It’s all about practising these routines over and over and polishing them,” she said.

“You have to trust the process – it’s hard work.”

Fell recently started to teach beginner skating classes at the Carterton Roller Skaters and said she was enjoying being part of the skating community in Wairarapa.

The Carterton club is run by Verity Turner and partner Chris Robertson.

Turner said they began the club last year and it had already grown bigger than they’d anticipated.

“It helps that we have skates that kids can borrow – it gives them the opportunity to try it out for a few weeks, and so in that way makes it accessible.”

With popularity rising, Turner hopes to set the club up as a formal association in the future.

“It would be great to reach a point where we have a board and other people involved in running it,” she said.

Fell is teaching classes in Carterton to raise money for her overseas opportunities, and she is also looking for sponsorship, as the sport is entirely self-funded.

1 COMMENT

  1. Brilliant! Congratulations Aspin and congratulations to the Wairarapa Times for printing such an inspiring Story. Stuff Waikato Times will print nothing on our skaters. Such a shame after all of the hard work young people like Aspen put into their chosen sport. Good luck in Germany Aspin

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Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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