Motherwell’s Jennifer Gibson stars at inaugural ice skating championships

Motherwell woman Jennifer Gibson shows off her ice skating talents (Submitted pic)
Motherwell woman Jennifer Gibson shows off her ice skating talents (Submitted pic)

Jennifer Gibson (21), from Motherwell, took to the ice for the inaugural Inclusive Skating (IS) Scottish and International Championships, on July 4 in Edinburgh.

Absolutely no skater was excluded from the championships and skaters with wheelchairs or balance frames had the opportunity to take to the ice.

Skaters with sensory, visual or extreme physical challenges such as autism who are unable to compete in person also had the opportunity to compete via pre-recorded video.

Around 50 skaters from as far away as Australia took part in a range of events with judges scoring each one.

The skaters have challenges such as cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, as well as other genetic, mental and behavioural impairments.

IS has also pioneered these events and the reintroduction of figures into ice skating in Great Britain and for skaters with challenges across the globe.

They were removed from able bodied competition in 1990.

Figures are particularly soothing for skaters who like to practise in the quiet and are popular with skaters who have autism or mental illness.

IS is a charity founded in September 2011 by former Scottish skating champion Margarita Sweeney-Baird.

She wanted to introduce people, mainly young people, to the wonders of ice skating no matter their life challenges.

She was inspired to help others after going to Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar.

IS relies almost entirely upon charitable donations and volunteer support.

It does not receive any public funding and donations go directly towards helping transform the lives of its disabled ice skaters, their families and carers.

His Royal Highness Prince Edward, The Earl of Forfar and President of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, was also a guest of honour at the Scottish Championships this year.