A TALENTED figure skater from Ponteland has enjoyed a season of success after winning a place in Team GB and scooping the title of British Champion.

Nina Alexandov (13) beat 40 other skaters in the Basic Novice category at the British Figure Skating Championships at iceSheffield on November 30 with 37.10 points.

She also secured a place in the Team GB Development Squad after receiving the required score at a competition at Skate London in September.

Proud mum Olga said: "She's been working really hard and it has been a hard journey for her this season.

"There was an 18 month break [due to Covid-19]. She was very, very consistent before the pandemic and when you go back and everyone has certain expectations for you, it wasn't easy for her and it put an extra pressure on her but she managed and she finished the year in the best way we could possibly wish for.

"She got the score she needed to be a part of Team GB and she won the national title, so we are very, very pleased."

Nina has been skating for 10 years, since she was just three years old.

"I took her to Whitley Bay when she was very little for the polar bear club, and once a week she would go there," said Nina's mum, Olga.

"She absolutely loved it."

Nina now trains on ice six days a week, travelling to Dundee on Fridays to train at the weekend with her main coach, David Richardson - a former British national champion - in Dundee. During the rest of the week Nina trains between Whitley Bay and Billingham ice rinks.

The Year 8 student at Ponteland High School is currently training to compete internationally in countries such as Holland, Slovenia and Latvia this year.

Olga said: "Unfortunately some competitions have been cancelled, so I hope it will go ahead. We haven't heard anything yet, so we will just wait and see what the requirements will be like and take it from there."

As for their long-term ambitions, Olga said: "We don't want to make plans because we know anything can happen, and with Covid now, we just take it year by year.

"It would be nice when she moves to Juniors and Seniors to get the score needed for the European Championships and World Championships, and who knows, the Olympics. But it's a painful topic for anyone, the Olympics, because it's the biggest competition anyone can dream of and so it's a lot of hard work. Team GB has only one spot so you have to work really, really hard to get that spot out of everyone."

Nina's fitness coach is Ross Graham at North East Athletic Development and her coach at Whitley Bay ice rink is Karen Brannen.