By : Allan Wishart
PG FREE PRESS
Justin Hampole will probably be looking up to a lot of his competitors next week at the Skate Canada Challenge in Regina.
That’s not because Hampole, who skates out of the Northern BC Centre for Skating, is in awe of his fellow skaters in the Pre-Novice Men event. It’s basically because Justin just turned 12, and Pre-Novice Men is for skaters 16 and under, which means a lot of them will be taller than him.
This is the pose Justin Hampole of the Northern B.C. Centre for Skating will be striking the first week of December, when he competes at the Skate Canada Challenge in Regina. Allan WISHART/Free Press
“I’m used to going up against older skaters,” Hampole says, sitting in a change room at the Elksentre before a practice this week. “It’s the youngest age level they have, and it’s what I competed in at Sectionals.”
Placing fourth at Sectionals in Richmond earlier this month got Justin the chance to go to the national event, the first time in 10 years a Prince George skater has done so.
“I’ve been skating for about five years,” Justin says. “Some days I would come to the rink with my family for public skating and we would get here early. There would be figure skaters on the ice and I thought it looked like fun. I saw it on TV too, and it looked like a lot of fun.”
Then, reality sort of set in.
“Wen I started, I thought, ‘This ice is so slippery’. I couldn’t believe how effortless the pros made it look. But right from the start, I liked it, so I stuck with it.”
In Regina next week, Justin will skate two different programs, a short and a long.
“The short program is two minutes and 30 seconds, and the long one is three minutes and 10 seconds. They can deduct points if you’re not right on the time.”
Each of the programs also has a number of elements, including jumps and spins, which must be included.
“My coaches made sure I could connect to the music we were using for my programs. I can really connect with them, which makes it easier to skate to them.”
While he has had the long program for about a year, the short program is relatively new, since he started it just after SummerSkate, about four months ago.
Although going to the Skate Canada Challenge is something new for Justin, the arena might not be.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll be at the Co-Operators, and I’ve skated there before.”
Centre for Skating director of skating Rory Allen says the trip to nationals is a step in a plan they have set up for Justin.
“We were gearing up to this with the 2015 Canada Winter Games in mind,” Allen says. “It’s part of the plan for the development of the athlete.”
He expects Justin to skate well in Regina, but says the results aren’t the most important thing.
“This is an experience thing for Justin. If he can finish in the top half of his event, that would be great. There will probably be 35 to 40 skaters in that event.
“It’s fantastic for him to get the opportunity so young. He still has time to develop at this level.”
Allen says Justin’s qualification speaks to the work of the staff at the Centre for Skating.
“This isn’t a one-room schoolhouse, where one coach has to coach all the aspects. We have coaches here who specialize in certain kinds of spins.
“What we could use is more ice time, both in numbers of arenas and in longer seasons.”
The Skate Canada Challenge runs Dec. 4 to 8 in Regina.
To Schedule an Interview contact our PR chair