GB skater Meg looking to add to medals haul in Austria

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Next year’s Special Olympics World Winter Games will give Meg McFarlane a chance to add to her fast-growing medals haul and shine on a world stage.

Yet at birth she wasn’t even expected to walk, let along skate.

It was the chance to wear the beautiful sparkly outfits and dance fast around the skating rink that made Meg, of Ompton, near Wellow, want to take up ice skating seven years ago.

The 13-year-old was a big fan of the popular television show Dancing on Ice and so her mum, Nicky, decided to take her to Sutton’s Lammas Leisure Centre so she could have a try.

Click HERE to read about Meg’s GB call-up along with club mate Callum Mills

Meg has Down’s Syndrome and suffers from a heart condition that has meant she has needed three major heart operations.

“I am very proud. It’s just so wonderful to see how far she’s come with the sport and I feel very proud to see her perform for Great Britain,” said Nicky.

“It is just an amazing journey she has been on. We are very grateful to Meg’s coach, Louisa Chatwin, who is also head coach of Team BG now. We are very lucky to be under her wing.

“Meg trains every morning before school Monday to Friday. It really builds her confidence up and when she is out there performing on the ice she is just a confident little girl, the same as all the other skaters that are out there.”

Her new-found passion has certainly seen Meg, and her family, undertake some globetrotting too.

In the 2013 Special Olympics International Ice Championships in Dumfries, she picked up an impressive two gold medals after seeing off competition from Iceland, Finland, the USA and Canada.

In April 2014 as part of Great Britain’s Special Olympics team in an international ice skating competition in Vienna Meg finished fourth.

The 3rd Inclusive Skating International competition for skaters from all over the world in Reykjavik, Iceland, at the end of May, saw her win gold, and 2014 ended with a silver in Finland.

Last year, in the National Special Olympics Championships in Braehead, Glasgow, Meg picked up silver, followed by a bronze in Finland.

Special Olympics staged a winter games in Graz, Austria, in January of this year as a trial for the Austrian event and Meg impressed with a bronze, followed up by a gold in Braehead in April.

“The Graz competition was a practice run for GB ahead of Austria as they’ve never taken a team of skaters to a World Winter Games before,” said Nicky.

“She will be going to Austria with Callum Mills in the same squad from the Lammas club. They are friends and they did the pairs competition at Glasgow this year where they won silver medals.”

Meg has to prepare two sections for competition - an elements section which will see her perform certain skating moves, and a free-skating programme.

In that she had been dancing a routine to Abba’s Dancing Queen.

But Nicky said: “She will be doing Mary Poppins for the World Winter Games. We haven’t worked a programme out yet, but she’s picked the music.”

Meg also won the Nottinghamshire Junior Disability Sportsperson of the Year Award in 2013.