Something a little different catches imagination of Haywards Heath public

National roller figure skating championships at the Dolphin Leisure Centre
National roller figure skating championships at the Dolphin Leisure Centre
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The country’s top artistic rollers skaters were in Haywards Heath last weekend when the Dolphin hosted the national championships for the first time.

There were more than 150 qualifiers taking part in couples, singles and team events, all watched by hundreds of spectators.

Roller skating is not yet an Olympic sport but is part of the World Games, which takes place every four years.

It so happens that 2013 is World Games year and it will be taking place in Taiwan.

The World Games showcases new or emerging sports that are hoping to gain Olympic status in the future.

Notable skaters in the weekend’s events included twin sisters Tia and Mariam Sylla from Leicester, who were taking part in the youth ladies championships.

They are showing great promise and finished first and second place respectively in what proved good preparations for the European Youth Championships in Italy in September.

Senior men’s champion, 20-year-old Chris Fox from Tiptree in Essex, has made a huge improvement this year and he convincingly took first place as he now prepares for the Senior European Championships in Portugal in late September.

The top clubs taking most of the medals came from Leicester, Tiptree, Farringdon in Oxfordshire and Orpington in Kent.

There were also medals for skaters from clubs as far afield as Durham and Guernsey.

Currently there are no competing roller skating clubs in Sussex but this is all set to change as Freedom Leisure’s Dolphin Centre are launching their own skating academy in September.

This will be headed by national coach Nick Mallinson who is hoping Haywards Heath will develop its own school of championship skaters in the future.

The sport is enjoying something of a revival and popular sessions have been running at the centre.

It was that which prompted the Dolphin management to ask the Federation of Artistic Roller Skating (FARS) if they could host the championships.

The success of that bid could prove the springboard for the sport to take off locally.

It may be one step away from Torvill and Dean’s famous Bolero routine but there are already some enthusiastic youngsters taking part and it is hoped they can be transformed into champions of tomorrow.

RACING: Plumpton Racecourse have appointed Michael Moloney to succeed Claire Sheppard as chief executive. He takes up the role in November. Moloney has been employed as financial controller at the course for nearly two years. Plumpton director Adrian Pratt said: “We thank Claire Sheppard for her excellent contribution to Plumpton’s success over the last five years and wish her the very best in the future.”