Ice star Fenella hopes to double up and soar

Solo ice dancer 'Fenella Watson-Buck is making her family and The Deepings School proud.
Solo ice dancer 'Fenella Watson-Buck is making her family and The Deepings School proud.
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Market Deeping ice dancing prodigy Fenella Watson-Buck (13) wasn’t even born when Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean became Olympic champions in 1984.

In fact, The Deepings School student wasn’t born either when Britain’s most famous winter sports stars came out of retirement to win Olympic Bronze medals in 1994.

Fenella Watson-Buck in her Team GB uniform.

Fenella Watson-Buck in her Team GB uniform.

But Watson-Buck doesn’t need reminders of a golden era on the ice to fire her own ambitions of being the best solo ice dancer she can be.

“I’ve been skating since 2010 when I went to try Skate UK’s Learn to Skate course and just really enjoyed it.

“My first competition was in April 2011 when I started off doing figure skating.

“But then I changed over to ice dance in the early part of 2012 which is more about using the edges of your skate, figures and patterns of skating and using the right ones, rather than jumps.”

Watson-Buck’s progress so far – she is third in the country at under-13 level – is all the more remarkable given the fact that she had to move with her family to Market Deeping last August after the ice rink in Norwich where she trained closed down.

Training takes place five times a week, with Watson-Buck waking up at 5am to start her 90-minute session at Planet Ice, Peterborough for 6am, before a full day in school and more training off the ice at home.

Watson-Buck said: “You need confidence and ambition to carry on skating, but it’s really fun and I’ve qualified for the British Solo Ice Dance Championships this year after coming third at the Welsh Open earlier this year.

“I’m privately coached and what I like about it is you just get encouragement and my coach helps me believe I can do my best.”

There is an even bigger factor that puts Watson-Buck’s success in context, her diagnosis as a Type 1 diabetic and the constant monitoring of sugar levels that such a condition brings.

“I was diagnosed in 2009 and sometimes if my sugar levels are low, I gave to go off the ice and have something to eat.

“At the time, it was hard to move from where we lived to Market Deeping but where we live now has helped me because I can train more often.

“I love school and I always tell them what I’m up to they’ve been a big help.”

Fay Penart-Buck and Antonio Penart, Watson Buck’s parents said: “Fenella’s doing fantastically well, both academically and in ice dancing, and we’re really proud of her.”

PE teacher Natasha Johnson said: “We have an Able, Gifted and Talented Programme throughout the school which Fenella is part of, so all the teachers are aware of how hard she works and that she competes at a high standard.

“Fenella is probably the perfect student because she settled in at the school very quickly, has a good group of friends, always works hard and always tries her best.”

However, there are big decisions facing Watson-Buck after the British Solo Ice Dance Championships in Sheffield which start in less than two weeks’ time.

The teenager has set herself the task of finding a dance partner in an attempt to emulate Torvill and Dean’s achievements of four European and four World ice dance titles, as well as Olympic gold and bronze medals.

Watson-Buck said: “I’m hoping to start looking for an ice dance partner next year and see how far we can go.

“My favourite ice dancers are the Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (2010 Olympic champions and Olympic silver medallists in 2014) and I’d like to go as far as I can in doing what they’ve done.

“Eventually, I’d like to be a coach but my parents always tell me that for now, school comes first.”