Scottish skaters ‘have never felt so emotional’ as they opened first ever UK Grand Prix

Dundee pairs skater Anastasia Vaipan-Law said she had "never felt so emotional" as she opened the first figure skating Grand Prix event ever to be held in the UK with partner Luke Digby.

Ana Vaipan-Law and Luke Digby opened the first ever Grand Prix competition to be held in the UK. Pic: Annabel Mansell
Ana Vaipan-Law and Luke Digby opened the first ever Grand Prix competition to be held in the UK. Pic: Annabel Mansell

The pair were the first skaters to take to the ice in the pairs event of the MHK John Wilson Trophy Grand Prix, one of six elite competitions held around the world.

"I was overwhelmed,” said Ms Vaipan-Law. “I have never felt so emotional before getting into my starting position.”

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Mr Digby added: "The amount of noise and support from the crowd was amazing and to start the competition was incredible. There were so many British flags, you never see that. Every time I looked up, I could see ten, fifteen GB flags. And then to have to stand for the national anthem before the start. I got goosebumps."

The couple scored a season's best of 50.20 in the short programme, finishing seventh out of seven competitors.

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"That's our season’s best – and our personal best at a major international competition," said Mr Digby. "There was just a few little errors towards the end. To deliver what we did in front of that crowd was very special.”

The Grand Prix is being held in the UK for the first time after competitions usually held in China and Russia were relocated due to the war in Ukraine and Covid travel restrictions respectively.

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“It's only fitting that a British Pair will open the first-ever Grand Prix to take place in the UK," said sporting body British Ice Skating ahead of the event.

The pairs short programme competition, led by Alex Knierim and Brandon Frazier from the US, who scored a season’s best of 75.88, was the first discipline in the event. It was followed by the short programme of the men’s competitions where British skaters Graham Newberry are in 9th and 11th place respectively, with scores of 64.30 and 62.52. Canada’s Roman Sadovsky is in first place going into the free skate, with a short programme score of 89.49, while Italy’s Daniel Grassl is second with 86.85.

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Dundee skater Natasha McKay will represent the UK in the women's competition on Saturday, when Prestwick-born Lewis Gibson and partner Lilah Fear will also compete in ice dance.

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