16 January 2019
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Yu is in a spin after winning the prestigious Asian Junior Figure Skating Challenge 2018/19 in Hong Kong which attracted competitors from all over the world.
Rachel, a pupil at Burgess Hill Girls, began ice skating at the age of five.
‘I started enjoying watching people skate before I could even fit into the smallest-sized skates,’ she said. ‘When I was only three, I used to stand outside the rink for hours watching people doing spins and jumps. As soon as I could fit into the smallest skates, I had my first lesson
She continued: ‘Everything goes away when I’m on the ice. There is so much to focus on that I don’t have the chance to think about anything else.’
Rachel says that competing can be tough: “It can be quite stressful but nothing feels better than skating a clean [perfect]programme, knowing that all my hard work has paid off.
“It takes a lot of work just for a couple minutes of glory or pain; it may take a million of trials to complete one element. But when you succeed, it’s all worth it. I love it because of the artistry, jumps and precise spins. I think figure skating is a unique sport as it is a combination of artistry and techniques.”
Rachel’s devotion to her sport means an arduous practise regime: ‘I practise five to six days a week, three hours minimum per day,’ she says.
Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said: “This is an amazing achievement by Rachel. To be successful in an international competition is something very special. It is wonderful to see our girls having the drive and passion to pursue their creative and sporting interests to the very highest level. We’re very proud of her.”