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KARLA'S 'QUINN' THE BIG TIME

TEENAGE sensation, Karla Quinn, has made ice-skating history with the award of a whopping funding boost this week.

The Rasharkin starlet has received selection for the highly-prestigious Individual Lottery Support Programme.

It comes in a year which has seen the young star bounce back from a serious injury which took her out of most of last season.

Karla has been awarded the 12 months award from April '07 - April '08 which will enable her to attend GB Squad Camps, internationals and assist with equipment.

The Individual athlete support programme is awarded to all different sports within UK; this is the SCNI (Northern Ireland) award scheme.

However, it was a very rigorous criteria process and is only given to the best in the sport and those showing potential to medal at international level, namely European, World, Commonwealth Games and Olympics

Speaking of the announcement, Sport Northern Ireland Chairman, Professor Eric Saunders OBE said: "Sport Northern Ireland is delighted to distribute funding to these talented athletes. We are committed to raising the standards of sporting excellence and it is hoped that this investment will enable all these athletes to realise their ambitions and perform at their optimum in forthcoming international competitions."

Rising star Karla moved to England to train full-time four years ago. In that time she took the silver medal in the British Junior Ladies two years in a row, was selected as 1st Reserve for the World Junior Championships to represent GB and all this followed three British Title wins at Novice and Primary level.

However, the young athlete was struck down by a series of injuries at her prime which took her out for 18 months of competitive skating. Following an operation last November Karla, who is already part-qualified for the Senior Ladies Championships, has made an outstanding comeback taking three Golds and one Bronze in National Open Level 10 (Senior) events throughout the UK since January.

She has also a very credible 4th place in her first ever Senior IJS event, snapping on the heels of some of Europe's top senior ladies competitors - and she is still a Junior skater!

Karla began skating at the age of six in Coleraine under the watchful eye of top British coach Margaret O'Neill who still coaches Karla in Ice Sheffield full-time.

Margaret commented: "Karla has been working on fitness this season mainly to get back on the ice, however she has exceeded all expectations and has achieved what we had hoped for early next year!

"Karla's main goal this year is to keep working and progressing with the aim of qualifying for the British Senior ladies in Jan 2009."

However Karla has added another string to her bow this year in last month it has just been announced that Karla will team up with top British Senior Mens competitor David Hartley to compete in the British IJS Qualifying rounds in Senior Pairs 2007/08, making Karla the first ever ice skater from Ireland to compete in both disciplines at this level.

The Rasharkin-born ace said: "I really love pairs. I hadn't done it before this year but David is very experienced and has not only skated pairs but dance before, he is a very talented choreographer and we are both very excited at skating in this discipline I should gain a lot of experience through skating in this and it is a lot of fun too."

 
 
 

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