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Home for nationals . . .Ice Sports Southland rink manager and coach Simone Thornett is rapt the ice rink has been chosen as the venue for the New Zealand Ice Figure Skating Championships next year. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Ice Sports Southland rink manager and coach Simone Thornett is rapt the Gore ice rink has been chosen as the venue for the 2019 New Zealand Ice Figure Skating Championships.

Ms Thornett attended this year’s championships earlier this month and said it was announcedGore had been chosen to host the championship next year.

“I’m stoked. It’s really great for Gore – there will be well over 150 kids coming here. It’s great for the town,” she said.

There would also be about 15 athletes from Australia travelling to compete in the event.

Ms Thornett put a proposal forward to the New Zealand Ice Figure Skating Association in September which outlined why Gore should be chosen to host the championships.

“It included our amazing facilities at the multisports complex, hospitality options – everything like that.”

One of the key factors was the pool, courts and ice rink being in the same location which allowed Ice Sports Southland to offer the skaters 38 hours of ice time, which was more than other venues, she said.

New Zealand Ice Figure Skating Association secretary Bridget Danbrook said the availability of ice time at the rink was fantastic.

“The cost of the ice time is very competitive and having the swimming and netball complex attached is an added bonus.

“Our skaters and families can relax in the pool during their down-time periods and skaters can warm up or do off-ice activities in the netball courts.”

Ms Thornett said it would be a good opportunity for the community to view ice figure skating.

“It’s great for Gore to be able to see top-level ice figure skaters competing. It will really help put us on the map.”

Ms Danbrook was excited about the championships heading to Gore for the first time in seven years.

“Skaters, officials and coaches love coming down to the friendly city. All the businesses embrace the championships and some of the local companies ‘adopt’ a local skater, displaying details of the skater in their windows.

“As it is a small community, the whole focus is on the New Zealand national event and they embrace it with pride.”

Ms Thornett looked forward to the different skating clubs throughout New Zealand interacting with one another.

“It’s just great seeing so many kids coming together. Because it’s in a smaller town it’s nice to see the kids be able to bond with other clubs,” she said.

There would be a banquet to conclude the event.

The New Zealand Ice Figure Skating Championships would be held in the October school holidays next year.