Olympic hopeful improving skills at ice skating rink
Fresh from winning his division of the New Zealand ice dancing championships, Hamilton's Patrick Costley, 14, is getting in some ice time in Garden Place while he can.
Ice dancing is a form of figure skating without throws and jumps and is inspired by ballroom dancing. It is a Winter Olympic sport.
The Hamilton Boys' High School student is one half of the reigning pre-primary ice dance title holders and said the temporary rink might be small but it is helping him improve his skills.
"It gives me a lot more practice and I can get my steps better," Patrick said. "Unfortunately it's not big enough for me to practise full programmes or anything but it is really good to just get on the ice and practise."
Patrick took up ice skating while living in Canada when he was 8 and began ice dancing with a childhood friend after returning to New Zealand.
"When I started in Canada I just liked it. My friend also started so we would go up for the Kiwi skate lessons that they do and we just kept on doing it."
The trips to Auckland paid off when they were spotted by selectors for higher levels of coaching.
"A private coach came and selected us for a development group and from that we started to get a lot better a lot faster and she started taking us for dance as well."
He travels to Botany Downs in Auckland every week to train and meets his dance partner once a month for a mid-week training session.
"My partner comes up from Christchurch so we can't train any other time and we need a full day to practise to get everything," he said. "For the nationals we only had 10 practices together but we still managed to do really well."
Patrick doesn't let training get in the way of his school work.
He managed to score top marks in his end of Year 9 results and is grateful for the time off school.
He hopes to compete one day at the Winter Olympics but doing so from Hamilton would be a difficult task.
"I would have to train a couple of hours every day which is really not possible," he said.
He would like to see a permanent rink built in Hamilton and believes it would be a good investment.
"That would be really good for me. I would use it all of the time."
"If we build a rink in Hamilton, if it was Olympic size and regulation then we could have the Nationals here and we could advertise it everywhere and attract people to skate and I think that would be really good."