Lana skates off with British title

A FLEET-FOOTED Lothians ice skater has glided her way to the British under-16s title despite just turning 14 years old.

Ice cool Lana Bagen from Livingston outshone fellow competitors - some two years her senior - to scoop the prestigious crown in Sheffield last week.

The budding Jayne Torvill now has her sights set on Olympic glory and is rising for training at 4.30am six days a week to be in with a shot of realising her dream.

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"It still hasn't settled in that I won it," said the talented teenager.

"When I came off the ice my coach was crying because I had completed my routine so well and I was crying because I couldn't believe I had won. It's been my goal to win this ever since I was very little."

A Christmas visit to East Kilbride town centre with her grandmother sparked Lana's interest in skating. She was just eight and became so mesmerised by the figures floating across the ice she asked her grannie for lessons from Santa. Since then her career has flourished and she now divides her skating schedule between Livingston and East Kilbride, where her supportive grandparents live.

She has also been boosted by a guiding hand from Olympic contenders and former European Championship bronze medal winners Sinead and John Kerr, who are also from the West Lothian town.

"When it's practice I don't really feel nervous but in competition I do get a little kick of nerves," she said. "My coach has said that I'm one of the few people to channel it into energy to get me going rather than letting it affect me."

On the sacrifices she has made for her sport, Lana said: "I have had to give up quite a lot like staying up late and having lie ins. I can't really go out with my friends on Friday night because I have to be up early for training.

"When I first started getting up that early I did think it was a little extreme but now I've been doing it for a while I'm kind of used to it."

The gifted youngster is preparing to step up a level from under-16s to juniors in the coming months, which would see the 14-year-old vying with other skaters up to five years older than her.

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Lana's coach Leanne Collins, of Olympia Figure Skating Club, said her protege's key strength was her commitment and tipped her to go far in the sport.

"I have taught Lana since she first stepped on to the ice and she is such a determined little girl and very focused on working extremely hard. That's why she has done so well.

"She always wants to learn something new and watches skaters from abroad to learn their moves. What she has done so far is a brilliant achievement but now she will be skating against girls much older than her. She's doing extremely well considering her age."

Lana admits reaching the Russian Winter Olympics in 2014 would be a tough ask but is prepared to fight for her dream.

"It would be incredible for me because all my hard work since I was eight would have paid off. All the sacrifices would be worth it," she said.