A young ice skater from Kensington with big dreams of going to the Olympic Games, is the People’s Post Let’s Play Sport Star of the Month for June.
Gian-Quen Isaacs (11), a grade 6 learner at Kenmere Primary School, says she loves ice skating.
“Ice skating is what I feel I am meant to do. I love that it is where I can be myself, no matter what kind of day I had. I always feel really alive and comfortable when I have my skates on,” she says.
According to her mom, Letitia, who nominated her, Gian is quietly making her mark in the figure skating arena with awards and medals that has many still gasping. “Gian has placed on the podium at all but one qualifying competition, having not only obtained gold, but also meeting the criteria for international selection. She trained with coach Brian Orser in Canada in June and July and will soon attend a four week long training camp with her coach Megan Allely in preparation for four international competitions between October and December,” says Letitia.
Some of Gian’s achievements so far include:
. 2013: Sparrow Girls (Gold)
. 2013: Received colours to represent WP at national level.
. 2014: WP Provincial Championship Juvenile Girl (Gold)
. 2014: South African National Championship, 4th
. 2014: WP Inter-club Championship Juvenile Girls (Gold)
. 2014: Cape Inter Provincial Championship Juvenile Girls (Gold)
. 2015: WP Provincial Championship Juvenile Girls (Gold)
. 2015: South African National Championship Juvenile Girls (Gold)
. 2015: Gauteng Inter Provincial Championship Pre-Novice Girls (Two Silver),
. 2015: WP Inter Club Championship Pre Novice Girls (Component Bronze and Free Skate Silver), Most Artistic Skater Award , Most Outstanding Performance Award
. 2015: Cape Inter Provincial Championship Pre-Novice Girls (bronze component and silver free skate)
. 2015: Obtained elite skater status as ranked no1 for juvenile girls
. 2016: WP Provincial Championship Pre-Novice Girls (bronze component, silver free skate)
. 2016: South African National Championship Pre-Novice Girls (2 silver), selection for Zagreb, Germany, Turkey and Budapest.
Gian says that the trip to Canada to train with Orser, a former Olympic silver medalist and world champion, was amazing.
“That is the only big word that comes to mind when I think back on that experience. At first, travelling without my mom and going to the training facility where the best of the best train was scary, but at least I had my coach with me and it was comforting to know that I could chat to my mom at any time,” she says.
“I was very nervous for my first lesson, but the coaches were very understanding. On the day of my lesson with Brian Orser, I still remember talking to my mom that morning, and I was close to tears, because I was scared and I did not want to embarrass myself. My mom told me to just relax and be myself. My lesson started and I realized that he was very down to earth. He kept encouraging me and I realised I was stressing for nothing,” Gian says.
“The coaches I’ve trained with are amazing coaches who helped with my preparation for international competitions coming up soon. I’ve learnt so much from each and every one of them and I rubbed shoulders with champions and made lifetime friends. Toronto in a nutshell, will always have a special place in my heart.”
Gian trains for 9½ hours a week from Monday to Saturday on ice and for five hours off ice.
According to her she is fortunate to have a very supportive family who helps her to balance academics and sport. “My mom believes if my results are not good enough, I will not be allowed to skate, so the fear of not being allowed to skate has me doing my utmost to excel academically as well. But in all honesty, I love both.”
She says that she enjoys ballet and reading when she is not training. “I started playing piano, but had to stop as it clashed with training.”
Gian says by the time she is in Grade 12, she wants to have made her mark internationally, and be preparing for the Olympics. “One can always dream.”