White Gum Valley’s Asha on speed skating’s fast track to success after medal haul

Speed skater Asha Hickford with her medals.
Picture: Marie Nirme         
Speed skater Asha Hickford with her medals. Picture: Marie Nirme       

WHITE Gum Valley’s Asha Hickford loves skating and loves to go fast.

Falling in love with skating at the age of five, the now 12-year-old has spent the past year learning how to go as fast as her legs can take her with the help of the Cobra’s Rollerskating Club.

After just a little more than a year of training, Asha took her skills to the 2017 Speed Nationals in South Australia recently, competing in 12 individual races and two relays.

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She medalled in all but one, bringing home eight gold and five silver medals.

Her success also led to Australian team selection for an upcoming international competition.

Asha said she enjoyed speed skating for several reasons, but she was unsure of how she would go at the national competition.

“I obviously love the sport itself and skating helps me feel good and helps through hard times,” she said.

“Going into nationals, I didn’t know what to really expect. I wasn’t too confident as I knew many competitors have been skating for longer than me, but my goal was to give 100 per cent in every race and whatever happens, happens.

“I found out I had been selected in the Australian team at the luncheon at the end of nationals and when my name was called I felt a sigh of relief as well as a sense of accomplishment. I felt that all the hard training and work had paid off.”

Despite speed skating being a relatively fringe sport, Asha said she wanted to take it as far as she could and urged others to give it a go.

“My dream is definitely to be a world champion in the sport and I truly believe that if I work hard and train hard I can accomplish that,” she said.

“Though it isn’t that popular it is a great sport that can help you stay fit, healthy and strong and you can do it just for fun or try to get to a high level.

“It is a much more serious sport than many think, but if you work hard you could go anywhere within this amazing sport.”