Seven top YRSA skaters compete in Skate Canada Challenge

Post date: Dec 2, 2011 2:39:57 AM

(An Article from

Top skaters competing in Skate Canada Challenge

In Regina, Saskatchewan until Sunday

Competing out west. During a practice session at Ed Sackfield Arena, these York Region Skating Academy members Roman Sadovsky (from left), Alexander Zahariev, Cheryl Lin, Anthony Kan, Antony Cheng, Alexandra Najarro and Leslie Ip pose for a photograph before heading west to compete this week. By David Li

Some of Richmond Hill’s finest young figure skaters from the York Region Skating Academy (YRSA) are in Regina, Saskatchewan this week to compete in the Skate Canada Challenge.Seven skaters from YRSA qualified through sectionals for the competition running at The Co-Operaters Centre at Evraz Place Thursday to Sunday. The skaters hope to qualify for the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships in January.

“They have all been training really hard,” said Tracey Wainman, a two-time Canadian women’s champion and co-director of competitive skating at YRSA. “All of them are ready and we just want to see them skate the best they can.”

Established in 1986, the academy has earned a reputation for turning out top pre-novice and novice skaters.

“With our competitive junior skating academy program, they learn from a young age how to compete,” said Katerina Papafotiou, the academy’s other co-director.

As one of the more experienced and successful skaters, 18-year-old Alexandra Najarro will lead the way for younger skaters. She is quick to point out that it’s the dedication to excellence that contributes to the success of the elite group.

“It’s the focus that we have here,” said Najarro, who finished fourth at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships last year. “We have great coaches and a very focused and disciplined environment and that separates us from other clubs.”

As a current member of Team Canada, Najarro leads by example, arriving for training every day at 1:30 p.m. and training late into the evening.

“I train six days a week in the fall and winter and we go to five days in the spring and summer,” said the 2008 Canadian novice champion.

“I’ve been here a long time and it’s great to see the younger skaters progress and start to reach their potential.”

Among those young skaters joining Najarro out west will be Roman Sadovsky, Alexander Zahariev, Cheryl Lin, Anthony Kan, Antony Cheng and Leslie Ip.

Papafotiou hopes to see even more of the academy’s young skaters striving to reach Najarro’s level of success.

“We’d like to see all these kids to go on to compete at the senior level and represent Canada,” Papafotiou said.

“Our vision is to be one of the best schools in the country that produces champions. We’ve been doing that on the novice and pre-novice level, but we’d like to see more champions on the senior level.”

David Li is a Thornhill freelance writer.