Dundee ice star Natasha McKay believes she is in top form as she prepares to take to the ice in Japan tomorrow for the World Figure Skating Championships.
The 24-year-old Dundonian figure skater flew out to the Far East on Saturday morning to take part in the third World Championships of her career looking to turn in her best display yet.
The British ladies champion for the past three years, McKay feels she is going into the tournament in Saitama near Tokyo in the best shape of her life and reckons she is ‘ready’ to perform on the biggest stage.
As the representative for Great Britain, McKay will go up against some of the best skaters on the planet but is not daunted by the task at hand.
Speaking exclusively to the Tele, she said: “I left on Saturday morning and got into Japan on Sunday afternoon so it’s a long travel.
“I’ve had two training days, compete tomorrow in the short program and, hopefully, get through to the free program on Friday.
“I’ve been getting everything up to scratch and training went really well so that’s a bonus before going and I feel ready to go.
“It’s quite a big jump from European level, at the Worlds, obviously, everyone is the best from their country that go.
“It’s a bit of a bigger step up but this will be my third year there.
“I’m just hoping to qualify this year as I’ve haven’t qualified through yet into the free program the last two years so, hopefully, this year I’ll be able to do it.
“This is the most ready I have felt for a competition this whole season, which is really good.”
Competing at the near-40,000 capacity Saitama Super Arena, McKay is relishing the chance to perform her routines for the fanatical Japanese fans but admits she is also looking forward to the rare chance to be a tourist for once.
She added: “I’ve never been to Japan before. The Worlds I’ve been to have always been in Europe so I’ve been quite lucky so far not having to travel.
“I’m really excited, though, because Japan have the best crowds and have so many fans there.
“It’s sold out already so it’ll be a good atmosphere. I think this will probably be the biggest crowd.
“All the crowds are quite big at Europeans and Worlds but I think this one will be the biggest because there are so many fans in Japan.
“Usually I just see the hotel and the ice rink but we’re staying in the city this time so I’m hoping to go and see some of the sights because I’ve never been before.”
McKay has no plans to hang up her skates for a good while but spoke of the demands her training at Dundee Ice Arena with coaches Simon and Debi Briggs has put on her body.
She added: “This will be my last Olympic cycle and I’m hoping to get to the Olympics in 2022 and retire after that probably.
“I could go on for another four years but I’ll be getting into my 30s then and it’s a little bit too much to take with all the stress on your body at that age.
“They push me to the limit on ice and off ice and facilities in Dundee are actually the best in the country as well. I’ve got everything here.”