Dundonian skater Natasha McKay sets Beijing target after Winter Olympics selection

Natasha McKay insists training every day at Dundee Ice Arena with her British figure skating rivals gave her the extra push needed to secure a place at February’s Winter Olympics.

Dundee skater Natasha McKay has been selected for the Winter Olympics in Beijing. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

The 26-year-old was today (Thursday) confirmed in the UK team for Beijing after fending off her domestic competition to earn her spot, joining Ayrshire-born Lewis Gibson ice dancer and his Canada-based partner Lilal Fear in the British team.

The Dundonian, who missed out on PyeongChang in 2018, was under pressure until the last but the fierce internal competition at her home rink worked in her favour, she explained.

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“Obviously, we have the best skaters training here,” the British champion said. “The top three girls, before the trials, were training all in Dundee. But we just bounce off each other in the rink. And we're all nice and friendly.

"So I feel like it doesn't impact too much. I focus on myself. And I know that I have to go and do a job. So that's what I focus on.”

The target for Beijing, McKay declared, is to qualify in the top 24 and land a shot at strutting her stuff in the free programme.

The ongoing travel restrictions mean there’s no trip east for her mother as a thank-you for giving in to pester power and buying her first pair of skates as a kid.

And although tickets for the Games are on sale to the Chinese, it could still be a repeat of Tokyo’s Summer Games when spectators were left out in the cold.

But she said: “I just think to be there will be an experience in itself. All the rules and things I think I'll just forget about - and just enjoy the experience.

“I think having any crowd there would be great. So just to have people in the arena will be really great.

"If it is just a Chinese crowd, I know they have a lot of knowledge on skating as well. So they will just get behind us.”

Winter Olympics, she knows, is the fortnight every four years when the UK goes ice crazy and looks back to the glory nights of Torvill and Dean. But the Games, she declares, are no longer the driving force that lures a new generation through the doors in Dundee.

She said: “Dancing On Ice has really helped push skating forwards in Britain. Every time it is on the television, we see more and more people come to the ice rink. And it really helps to get people into it.”

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