School sports: Sircus comes to town with roller skiing double success

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ROLLER SKIING: Robert Sircus (Kingussie High School) completed a great double last weekend. He won the under-18 roller ski titles at both the Scottish Championships at Huntly and then the British Championships at Cairngorm.

Robert is coached by Mike Dixon, the six-time Olympian, and is already the British under-18 biathlon and Nordic (cross country) ski champion.

The 16-year-old sixth-year pupil is a member of the Cairngorm Biathlon and Nordic Ski Club and has been nominated to compete for Great Britain at the European Youth Winter Olympics at Brasov in Romania next February.

In October, he will be going to Austria for pre-season high-altitude training on the Dachstein Glacier near Ramsau before competing in other overseas events over the following months.

Thanks to Dixon’s influence, biathlon and Nordic skiing are strong in the schools around the Cairngorms area.

Eleven-year-old Stephanie Dare (Aviemore Primary School) has been training for 18 months with CBNSC and she won the Scottish under-12 roller ski series this summer.

Roger Homyer, whose daughter, Katy, has competed for Great Britain in Nordic skiing at the European Youth Olympics, runs an after-school club at Kingussie High School and there is also a strong club based in Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

“Huntly and Cairngorm are the clubs with the strongest school aged membership in the UK,” said Rex Sircus, Robert’s dad and the chairman of CBNSC. “The Huntly Club is very much focussed on the development of Nordic Ski Racing talent and the Cairngorm Biathlon Club combines cross-country skiing with the skills of target shooting using specialist rifles.

“At Cairngorm, we have a bunch of promising youngsters from Kingussie High School, Aviemore Primary and Grantown Grammar School.

“Both of the Scottish clubs have had juniors moving on to become members of national teams and competing at all levels from British Championships through to World Championship and Winter Olympic level.”

In the British Championships at Cairngorm, Duncan Gibb (The Gordon Schools, Huntly) claimed the boys’ under-16 title and schoolmate Fergus Newman won the under-14 event.

In the girls’ races, Shona Irvine (Kingussie High School) took the under-16 title and Beth Maclean (The Gordon Schools) took the under-14 crown.