Dundee figure skating champion Natasha McKay is hoping to redeem herself on the European stage after enduring a difficult time at one of the world’s biggest tournaments last year.
McKay is preparing to compete in the European Figure Skating Championships in Minsk, Belarus, this week and hopes to expel the disappointment of not making it past the first day of competition at last year’s tournament.
The 24-year-old Dundonian struggled in Moscow in 2018, finishing in 27th spot, but hopes this time, a quick jaunt over the border to Belarus can see her improve as she represents Great Britain in the ladies singles for the third year in a row.
In 2017, McKay fared better, ending up in 18th place, and the former St John’s pupil will be looking for something closer to that ahead of the championships getting under way today.
“My first Europeans were actually really good. I qualified through to the second day and went up the rankings quite a few spots,” she said.
“My second Europeans didn’t go quite the way I wanted it to.
“I had a bad skate on the first day so didn’t make it through to the second day.
“However, this year I feel a little bit more confident, I’ve got new programs and my training went really well.
“That’ll give me more confidence when I get there to skate the best that I can.
“I think I’ll do better this year than I did last year, only because my training has went really well this time.”
Coached by Team GB supremos and husband and wife duo Simon and Debi Briggs at Dundee Ice Skating Club (ISC), Broughty Ferry native McKay is the reigning British champion and has been for the past three seasons.
Coming off the back of a recent British Championships in Sheffield at the end of last year, McKay feels it has prepared her for the challenge of European glory.
She will skate both short and free programs and believes she is in a good place as she prepare to take to the ice on the biggest stage with plenty experience at the top level under her belt.
She added: “I’m excited. This will be my third Europeans so this time I know what to expect when I get there.
“It’s always a little bit more exciting when you’ve been before and you know what to expect when you get there.
“It definitely does give you more confidence winning at the British Championships, winning anything gives you more confidence. It makes your training a little bit easier as well because you know you’re just off the back of a win.
“We do step it a little bit before Europeans, we do more run-throughs, we do more off-ice stuff and you just have to step it up that little bit more because it is the championships.”
Meanwhile, five-time Irish figure skating champion Conor Skatelum, who also trains with Dundee ISC, will represent Ireland in the gents singles in Belarus.
Skatelum turned out for Ireland at the tournament in Moscow for the first time last year and will be hoping to build on that career milestone this time out.