Burgess Hill girl, 17, takes first place at Asian Junior Figure Skating Challenge

Rachel Yu in her costume and skates ready to take on the competition
Rachel Yu in her costume and skates ready to take on the competition

A teenager has been left in a spin after winning an international competition.

Burgess Hill Girls student, Rachel Yu, 17, took part in the prestigious Asian Junior Figure Skating Challenge 2018/19 in Hong Kong and brought home gold.

Rachel started skating when she was just five-years-old. When was aged three, she used to stand by the side of the ice rink for hours and watched the skaters doing spins and jumps.

As soon as she could fit into the smallest skating boots she attended her first lesson.

She said: “Everything goes away when I’m on the ice. There is so much to focus on that I don’t have the chance to think about anything else.”

Rachel explained that competing can be tough: “It can be quite stressful but nothing feels better than skating a clean [perfect] programme, knowing that all my hard work has paid off.”

She said: “It takes a lot of work just for a couple minutes of glory or pain; it may take a million of trials to complete one element. But when you succeed, it’s all worth it.

“I love it because of the artistry, jumps and precise spins. I think figure skating is a unique sport as it is a combination of artistry and techniques.”

Rachel’s devotion to her sport means an arduous practise regime. She practices five to six times a week, for minimum three hours per day.

The Asian Junior Figure Skating Challenge is a prestigious annual international competition which attracts competitors from all over the world.

The competition is open to junior, novice, pre-novice and juvenile skaters.

Burgess Hill Girls head, Liz Laybourn said: “This is an amazing achievement by Rachel. To be successful in an international competition is something very special.

“It is wonderful to see our girls having the drive and passion to pursue their creative and sporting interests to the very highest level. We’re very proud of her.”