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16-year-old national figure skater Ng Yi Ching's love for ice skating was nurtured from as young as 2.5 years-old while on a family trip to Canada. (photo by SportSG)

By John Yeong

Our special on ice skating features an interview with 16-year-old national figure skater Ng Yi Ching, who will be competing at the championships. 

Our editorial team caught up with Yi Ching recently at training, and she demonstrated the poise and elegance of a lady despite having been seasoned by hours and hours of training on the ice. With so few Singaporeans taking up an interest in elite winter sports, we were interested to find out what inspired her to take the leap, and here’s what she had to say.

When did you start skating? What attracted you to become a figure skater?

Yi Ching:
I first became interested in ice skating when I was 2.5 years-old while visiting my cousins, who played ice hockey, in Canada. They put me on the ice and that's the beginning of my story. However, I did not start proper skating until I was 4 years-old.
After we came back from that holiday, the coach in Singapore back then said that I was too young but I should start at 4. So on my fourth birthday, I remember telling my mother that I wanted to start skating lessons and here I am today.

How often do you train?

Yi Ching:
I usually train twice to three times a week, for 1-2 hours each time during the school term. During the school holidays, I would train five to six times a week, twice a day and for two hours each session.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in becoming a national figure skater?

Yi Ching:
The biggest challenge I've had would definitely be the on-ice training opportunities. When I was in primary school, I could only skate after being dismissed from school, which meant that I'd be having my training sessions with public skaters. This meant the rink would be crowded and I would have to circle the rink several times before there would be a space big enough for me to jump or spin in safety without bringing harm to others or myself. This meant there was a lot of time wasted and it felt bad sacrificing my coach's precious time and my parent's hard-earned money as well.

How did you manage to overcome these problems?

Yi Ching:
Over time I found a way to skate at the hours where there were few public skaters. Unfortunately, this meant that other things such as school and sleep had to be sacrificed. When I was in secondary school, my vice-principal gave me permission to take time off from assembly sessions to go for my skating lessons. I also went skating from 10pm to 12 midnight to avoid having to skate in a crowded rink, and a few of my friends did the same. 

Are there any personal highlights in your skating career?

Yi Ching:
There are a few personal highlights in my skating career, not all of which are in competitions. One of the biggest highlights would definitely be me consistently completing the Axel jump strongly and cleanly when I was seven, because I had spent over a year trying to perfect that move and it was a hurdle I was glad to finally overcome. I remember waking up happy everyday because of that one accomplishment until I was presented with another challenge: the Double Salchow jump, and several other double jumps.

What is your career goal as a figure skater?

Yi Ching:
I don't have a fixed career goal as a figure skater but I do want with all my heart, to go as far as I possibly can. When I do finally hang up my skates, I want to do so knowing that I have skated till the end having given my very best to accomplish all that I could and not give up halfway.

Watch Yi Ching in action in our video below and find out the various techniques used to complete her full routine or learn the basics to figure skating and ice skating in our other Sports 101 video series.

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