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Local skaters trying to start club

Two up and coming speed skaters are trying to bring their act a little closer to home.

Two up and coming speed skaters are trying to bring their act a little closer to home.

Nicole Maseja, 11, and her brother Ondra, 8, have been training once a week in Burnaby since the pair along with their parents Peter and Diaya moved to the Coast a few years ago.

The skating pair has been doing quite well on the competitive speed skating scene and has hopes of starting a club here on the Sunshine Coast.

Recently, Nicole and Ondra qualified for the provincial championships in Kelowna. Nicole finished sixth in the Midget division, while Ondra finished sixth in the Peewee division.

"It was a bit of a disappointment for Nicole because she fell a couple of times," said mom Diaya. "Top four made it to nationals, so she was very close."

Diaya said she is proud of both her children and their accomplishments so far, but feels if they could both train closer to home, they could excel that much farther in the sport.

"Being able to train a couple of times a week would make a huge difference," she said. "With the distance to travel to Burnaby every week and other commitments, it's just not possible to get time to skate and practice more than once a week. We're hoping to start a club here on the Sunshine Coast, which would allow our kids to train more, while also introducing the sport to youth and their families here on the Coast."

Diaya will have an information table set up at the Trail Bay Mall in Sechelt next Saturday (April 24).

People interested in finding out about the proposed club are encouraged to drop by.

Plans are also in the works for a three-day mini-camp in August at the Sunshine Coast Arena.

Full equipment will be available and several top coaches from Burnaby and Langley will be in attendance.

"The camp will be a chance for people to come out, learn a little bit about the sport and try it out," she said. "Once we see what the interest level is, we can then assess from there."

Diaya said she has already approached Sechelt mayor Cam Reid and arena representative Peter MacLeod with the idea and they have each had a positive response.

"This is a great sport and has done so much for our family," Diaya said. "Hopefully we can start a club here and bring another positive sport to the youth of this community."

For more information about speed skating, contact the Masejas at 604-885-9077.