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Ice queen Jenna is warming up to be a star; FIGURE-SKATING CHAMPION SETS HER SIGHTS ON THE EUROPEAN TITLE.

Byline: Andy Hutson

LAST month 16-year-old ice skater Jenna McCorkell won the senior women's title at the British championships.

Now the girl from Northern Ireland who lives and trains in Coventry is aiming to bring British ice skating in from the cold. ANDY HUTSON reports.

JENNA McCorkell wasn't even born when ice skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean danced their way to Winter Olympic gold in 1984, to the unforgettable sound of Ravel's Bolero.

But Jenna, who trains in Coventry, is one of this country's brightest rising stars, having become British women's figure-skating champion at the age of just 16.

She take her first steps in the senior European Figure Skat-ing Championships today as the ladies qualifying sessions begin.

It is the latest instalment in an already successful career for the youngster, who trains under the watchful eye of coaches, Yuri Bureiko, and his wife, Marina Serova, both former World Championship medal winners for Russia.

Jenna flew out on Saturday, with Yuri, to take part in the European event which is being staged in Malmo, Sweden.

And in February the Coventry-based skater will head off to the Czech Republic to represent Great Britain at the Junior World Championships.

The events are the latest in an incredibly hectic schedule for Jenna who has already enjoyed great success.

She took time out from training to talk about her career so far and her hopes for the future.

"When I was younger I always wanted to be British champion and was so happy when I won and got selected for the European Championships," she said.

"I'm not expecting any big placing but I'm going with goals set for myself - I've got to qualify."

Despite Jenna's modest hopes for success in the European Championships, her achievements so far speak for themselves.

She picked up the senior women's title at the British championships, held at Dumfries Ice Bowl, in December.

She made history at the event by becoming the first woman to complete a jump combination consisting of two triples at a British Championship.

Last October, she became the first British woman to win a medal at an International Skating Grand Prix when she won bronze at a junior event in Germany.

Jenna, originally from Coleraine, Northern Ireland, started skating at her hometown rink when she was seven.

After the rink closed she had to travel four hours a day to Dundonald, near Belfast, to train and eventually moved to England about a year ago. She has been training with Yuri's International School of Skating at Coventry's Skydome.

She said: "I've been here about a year now and it's been ab-solutely brilliant - Coventry is really good and the ice rink and facilities are fantastic.

"I've settled in really well and am happy living with Marina and Yuri."

But she added that she still enjoyed the support of friends and family, particularly mum, Ainsley, and dad, Craig.

She said: "Friends and family are really supportive and my parents have backed me since I was tiny."

Yuri said he was very optimistic about Jenna's future and added she was a great prospect for the future of British ice skating.

He said: "It's pretty much phenomenal for Great Britain, and she's quite a unique skater for the UK.

"She's already produced results that no one has produced for 10 or 15 years."

CAPTION(S):

FIRST STEPS: Ice skating champion Jenna McCorkell, aged 16, with coach Yuri Bureiko. Jenna will be competing at the European Figure Skating Championships in Malmo Sweden; SETTING GOALS: Jenna is happy living and training in Coventry with coaches Marina Serova (left) and Yuri Bureiko and (inset) Torvill and Dean who were the last great British skaters
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 20, 2003
Words:612
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