Inline speed skating: Hovea youngster feels the need for speed

Speed skating youngster Mikayla Smith from Hovea. Picture: Martin Kennealey d478122
Speed skating youngster Mikayla Smith from Hovea. Picture: Martin Kennealey d478122

HOVEA resident Mikayla Smith (10) is ready to put her best foot forward when she competes in the 2018 Australian Inline Speed Skating Nationals on January 15 at the old RAC defensive driving track at Perth Airport.

Skate WA state administrator Pauline Robertson said the event served as the annual qualifying event for the Australian National Team to compete at the 2018 World Championships in the Netherlands and 2018 Oceania Championships in New Zealand.

“It is an exciting time for inline speed skating globally because this year we will see for the first time inline speed skating included in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games program in Buenos Aires,” she said.

“There is a real possibility that one Australian boy and girl may be successful in qualifying for a quota place after the 2018 World Championships in the Netherlands.”

Mikayla said her goal was to achieve a personal best at her first nationals.

“I stumbled into the sport by accident two years ago when I went to the Midvale SpeedDome to try figure skating,” she said.

“No one was there so I gave speed skating a go.

“It’s now the only sport I do and I’m really excited to be competing and would really like to medal in one of the events.”

Team manager Kylie Robertson hoped the fledgling sport would grow now it was included in the Youth Olympics.

“Participation has remained stagnant over the years and part of this is because not many people have heard of the sport,” she said.

“Because it hasn’t been recognised as an Olympic sport this has held its growth back.”

The championships, with road, marathon and speed divisions, will take place at Skate Central in Perth Airport and Herb Graham Recreation Centre in Mirrabooka from January 15 to 21.

The public is welcome to watch the action.

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