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Ebony set for big challenge

Thursday, 5th April, 2012

MENTOR: Veteran skater and coach Marie White with Ebony Pascoe who will compete in the Oceania Championships next week. MENTOR: Veteran skater and coach Marie White with Ebony Pascoe who will compete in the Oceania Championships next week.

 By Andrew Robertson

As learning curves go young skater Ebony Pascoe is about to experience a steep one as she embarks on her first Oceania Championships this month.

Not only is the 12-year-old the baby of the 45-member Australian squad which heads to New Zealand next week for the four-day championships, but she is also leaving her parents behind.

The youngster, who will be South Australia’s only representative when she flies out with the rest of the Australian squad, will be one of more than 100 skaters competing in the annual championships at Waitakere near Auckland.

Predominantly a competition for Australian and New Zealander skaters, this year’s championships will include a number of competitors from other countries.

Ebony will for the first time have to compete in the older 13 to 16 years cadet division where she has qualified in two events: solo dance and artistic.

Ten skaters, five from Australia and five from New Zealand, will vie for medals in each event.

“She’s got her work cut out for her. We’re not expecting anything but hope she does well,” said Ebony’s father, Brett.

It’s been a big 12 months for the skater who last year won two gold and a silver medal at the Victorian State titles and then backed it up with three gold medals in the SA State titles.

She then finished with a first, a second and a fourth in the three events she competed in at the Nationals in Melbourne, where she qualified for the Oceania Games.

There might not be any prize money on offer in the sport of skating, but like any high level competition it requires plenty of dedication and sacrifice.

Ebony, who starting skating when she was six, has been training four days a week in preparation for the championships which are a springboard to the world titles which are also held in New Zealand this year.

“It’s a lot of work on the kids and the parents and coaches. It’s a combined effort to get the kids to this stage,” said Brett.

“I big thanks to (coach) Marie White - she’s great and has got a wealth of wisdom.”

Brett said while this year was more about gaining valuable competition experience than winning medals, his daughter - who is on the Far West Academy of Sport’s Lone Star development program - might just be destined for the big stage.

“It’s only her first year. It’s probably a learning curve.

“In the next couple of years, if she can maintain it, she’ll become an international skater.”

Regardless of where she finishes, Ebony will get at least one chance to celebrate at the championships - on her 13th birthday.

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