Bumper crowds filled the Gore Multisports Complex over four days last weekend to witness the 2019 New Zealand Ice Figure Skating Championships.
It is the first time the championships have been held in Southland since 2011, with 180 competitors taking part in close to 50 different categories between Thursday and Sunday.
Fourteen Southland skaters took part across the four day competition, including 12-year-old Hannah Sutton, who finished third in the intermediate novice ladies category.
Sutton said she was proud to have claimed a bronze medal and improve on her debut at the championships a year prior where she finished fourth.
She said it was a thrill to be able to compete in front of her home crowd, and said the conditions were much better suited to her skating with the ice being much more to her liking.
New Zealand Ice Figure Skating Association president Anita Tamepo said she was impressed with the turnout at the event in Gore and was delighted to be back in the region.
She hoped the championships would return much sooner to the Gore rink than in the past.
“It’s just a lovely environment. Everyone is so welcoming.”
She also commended the level of skating that had been on show, saying everybody had “stepped up” a level in 2019.
This article was originally written for The Advocate. You can read the published version here