Belfast Telegraph

Joy for Jenna McCorkell as she turns it up to 11

By Steven Beacom

Coleraine ice skater Jenna McCorkell is relishing the prospect of competing in next year's Winter Olympics after rubber stamping her place on the plane to Sochi when she claimed an amazing ELEVENTH British Championship success.

The 27-year-old cruised to her latest figure skating title at the weekend in Sheffield, proving she is in fine form ahead of the 2014 trip to Russia.

In her first Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, McCorkell finished 29th, admitting earlier this year, in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, that the occasion got to her.

Expect a very different scenario in February.

Northern Ireland's greatest ever skater, now much more experienced and confident, believes that she will be better prepared this time.

"I learnt a lot from Vancouver," said McCorkell.

"I learnt a lot from that preparation wise and how I will enter the Games this time will be a lot different from four years ago.

"In Vancouver I was just a bit in shock and overawed with everything.

"I've changed my entire coaching team and changed the entire set-up since then and it seems to be going well so far.

"I'm pretty excited about going to my second Olympics. It's starting to feel a bit more real now that it's getting closer and closer."

McCorkell would love to finish in the top 10 in Sochi and if she performs at her best, she certainly has a chance.

Last year Jenna finished 14th in the World Championships in France, equalling her previous best in the 2010 event.

The Winter Olympics take place for a fortnight from February 7 next year, though McCorkell has a few competitions before then.

"After the nationals I'm off to Zagreb in December and then it's the European Championships in January and then, the Olympics," she said.

"The competitions are a little bit more intense when the Olympics are on the horizon. I just hope to be in top form by the time I go there. We've got a plan, I just hope it works out this time."

McCorkell's 11th individual British Championship, won on Saturday, equals the record of the legendary British male skater Jack Page who was dominant on the ice in the 1920s and 1930s.

She has dominated the event since winning her first British title in 2002 and has won it every year since, bar 2006.

Scottish skater Karly Robertson, who, like Jenna, trains in Dundee and is coached by Simon and Debi Briggs, was runner-up for the seventh year in succession.

Katie Powell took the bronze medal as the top three from last year was repeated.

McCorkell's success story is a telling example of what can be achieved in sport with dedication. As a youngster she would be driven by family from her home in Coleraine in the early hours of the morning to practice her skating at Dundonald Ice Bowl in east Belfast, then she would return to the north west in time to go to school before often making the same trip again in the evening when her lessons were over.

She has maintained that discipline since, making her the best of British on a hugely impressive 11 occasions and a well respected competitor around the globe.

Belfast Telegraph


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