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Skating glory? They've got it figured! North duo take gold and silver at national ice event.

TWO North skaters have figured among the top honours by beating off the country's best ice talent.

Matthew Parr and David Richardson struck gold and silver respectively at the British Figure Skating Championships in Nottingham.

Parr became the senior men's champion this month 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.

Parr, from Preston Grange, North Shields, started skating aged seven at Whitley Bay Ice Rink before he moved away aged just 10 to train in Scotland three days a week.

He became a GB squad member in 2001 and soon after an Olympic squad member for Vancouver 2010.

He 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, ad will be competing in the qualifying event for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Germany later this year.

In 2008 he became the first British skater to win the USA Mid-Atlantic Championships in New York, and was chosen to to represent Great Britain in the World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Richardson, 21 and from High Heaton, Newcastle, performed a short and a long programme at the British Championships, where he finished fourth last year.

At the end of the short programme he lay first with 54.44 points with just two points separating the top three.

In his long programme the former Heaton Manor School pupil, having successfully performed triple jumps and numerous spins, achieved 86.87 points to give him a total of 148.60 points - and the silver medal.

He said: "After a disappointing year last year, I have worked extremely hard to ensure I finished on the podium. I am very happy to have won the silver medal, and now I hope to make the British squad and compete at international competitions."

Richardson learned his trade at Whitley Bay Ice Rink before moving to Coventry International School of Skating when aged 15.

Since then he has won both the British Novice Championships and British Junior Championships, as well as representing Great Britain in Croatia, Denmark, Belgium and Slovenia and the World University Championships in Italy in 2007.

One of his coaches Stephanie Mitchell said: "David performed to an exceptional level and he can now build upon this experience.

"We will work on his areas of weakness so David can improve on the rink.

"There is no doubt he is one of the best performers on the ice in the UK, but we must now concentrate on the technical aspects.

"I am sure David can be a star.

He has exceptional ability and is a good role model for younger skaters.

Both men went through the Polar Club Learn to Skate junior development programme at Whitley Bay before going on to have private tuition from the Rink's in-house coaching staff.

Francis Smith, director of Whitley Bay Ice Rink said: "I could not be happier for them both, as I have seen the hard work and commitment put in by both lads and their families.

"Everybody at Whitley Bay wishes them more and more success, it is so well deserved."

Matthew's dad Steve said: "It is fantastic to see two lads from the North East putting Whitley Bay on the sporting map."

CAPTION(S):

PARR FOR THE COURSE: Matthew Parr took the senior men's title at the British Figure Skating Championships; SILVER LINING: David Richardson proudly shows off the British Figure Skating Championship silver medal he won in Nottingham
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 28, 2009
Words:625
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