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Euros Parr-fect stage for Matt.

DON'T miss Grassroots Sport in Saturday night's Evening Chronicle for the latest Sunday league, junior, schools and girls football news MATTHEW PARR figures he can do Great Britain proud when he gets his skates on this week.

As reported in the Evening Chronicle earlier this month, the 19-year-old from North Shields has been included in the national squad for the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

Newcastle-born Parr, a member of Dundee Ice Skating Club, is the reigning national champion after defending the title he first won last year.

Now he is looking forward to testing himself on the European stage for the first time.

Parr said: "This will be quite a big event, something I am not used to.

"I have done a Junior World Championships before, last year, and that did not go so well (he finished 29th). I learned quite a lot from that.

"I made some stupid mistakes on easy things, and that is probably why, but I feel a lot more confident than I did last year." Keith Horton, chief executive of the National Ice Skating Association, said: "Congratulations to Matthew for being selected.

"He is part of an extremely talented group of skaters and, with the Winter Olympics just a month away, the event will give Matthew and the rest of the team vital competition against Europe's best."

Regarding the Olympics, Parr added: The Great Britain men do not yet know if we have a qualifying spot for Vancouver. "I just want to keep winning the national championships and produce my best. I want the opportunity to go to major events."

Parr and fellow Tyneside David Richardson struck gold and silver respectively at the British Figure Skating Championships in Nottingham last year.

Parr became the senior men's champion with a score of 157.51 - almost nine points more than his nearest challenger - making him one of the youngest winners at the age of 18.

He started skating aged seven at Whitley Bay Ice Rink before he moved away aged just 10 to train in Scotland under the watchful eye of Debi and Simon Briggs three days a week.

Parr became a GB squad member in 2001 and was first selected to Team GB for the first World Novice Championships in Calgary, Canada as an 11-year-old. He has represented his country in international competition many times - including the Youth Olympics in Sydney, Australia in 2007, where he finished fifth.

Parr is now ranked No 1 in the UK at both junior and senior level, and in 2008 he became the first British skater to win the USA Mid-Atlantic Championships in New York.

He was also chosen to represent Great Britain in the World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria and has enjoyed success in Junior Grand Prix events in Austria, Norway, Romania and Ukraine.

However, his career on the ice has not been without controversy.

Last year he was named as Britain's representative in the World Championships ahead of Elliott Hilton - only to be subsequently replaced by Hilton after the latter's successful lawsuit against the National Ice Skating Association.

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THE ICE MAN COMETH: Matt Parr in action (main picture) and (inset) meeting fans during a recent visit to the Centre for Life in Newcastle
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 20, 2010
Words:542
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