Twenty one years of skating and 13 years of representing her country at World Championship level has come to an end with the retirement of local roller skater, Sarah Jane Jones.
Jones, 25, who skated her last World Championships this month, has been the only New Zealander to win three medals at World Championship level.
She has won bronze medals in Freeskating, Inline Freeskating and Figures and Freeskating Combined.
Having retired from these disciplines to concentrate on Solo Dance, her goal has been to add a dance medal to the set before retirement.
While she would have loved to win that medal at her last champs, it was not to be, with stiff competition particularly from Italy and America. Italy won Gold and Silver with USA taking out the bronze. Eac country can only send two skaters for each discipline and both Italian and American skaters placed ahead of Jones who finished 9th in her Senior Ladies Solo Dance event.
But she is still very proud and happy with this year's result.
Deciding to make the 2012 World Roller Figure Championships her last was not an easy decision on a personal level for Jones who is still skating at her peak and could continue to develop her ability.
But on another level, it was very easy. She wants more time to concentrate developing skaters she coaches as well as growing her skate sales business.
This years Champs was a very special one for Jones - while she was skating her 13th and last World Champs, Kyra Thomson - a skater she has coached right through from Novice level was skating her first World Champs.
The Sacred Heart College, Year 11 student represented NZ in Junior Ladies Freeskating.
Kyra (16) and her older sister Nika (now retired from skating) were the first skaters Jones ever coached freeskating. “It has been very satisfying for me to see Kyra develop over the years and reach the level that she was selected to represent her country at World Championships, which is our sports top event,” Jones says.
Despite having to skate with a high temperature and high blood sugars because of a raging throat and ear infection on the days she skated, Type 1 insulin dependant diabetic, Thomson placed 19th in a large and strong field - again dominated by Italy and Argentina - with the four top places going to these two countries.
“I was really sick and it was my first ever world level skate so I am very happy with a top 20 placing,” she says.
“Sarah Jane was amazing in her support - both in the lead up to Worlds and at Worlds, it was so exciting to have been able to share a last/first worlds experience together,” she says.
Jones's first ever student, Upper Hutt 18-year-old Emma Hazelwood was also representing her country (for the third time) at the Word Champs in Junior Ladies Solo Dance. She placed 11th.
2012 was the first time Jones has had two skaters she coaches in the NZ team for World Championships so was a proud moment for her.
“I get as much satisfaction from my skaters achievements, as I do from my own. I want to continue to be there for Kyra and Emma and other skaters I coach at Oceania level. I hope they will continue to develop and shine on the World stage now I am gone,” she says.
The 2012 World Roller Figure Skating Championships were held in Auckland this month - it is the first time that the champs have been in NZ for 25 years and it is unlikely they will be held in this country for at least another 25.
- Hutt News