Hampstead siblings prepare for first ever British Long Track Speed Skating Championships in Netherlands

Matiss Ippolito (centre)

Matiss Ippolito (centre) - Credit: Archant

Two siblings from Hampstead Garden Suburb will take part in the first ever British Long Track Speed Skating Championships in the Hague in the Netherlands on Saturday.

Aurelija Ippolito, 17, and her younger brother Matiss, 14, live in Wildwood Road in Hampstead Garden Suburb and started training in the sport after an introduction session at the world-class 400m ice rink in Inzell, Germany in October 2014.

Having started skating at Alexandra Palace and Lee Valley Ice Centre, both have been on the podium at the British Solo Ice Dance Championships, and they are now training in both speed skating and ice dance.

They also represent Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers Athletics Club, while Matiss plays ice hockey for the Haringey Hounds at Ally Pally.

The pair must travel to the Netherlands for their long track speed skating sessions because the UK does not have a 400m ice rink, meaning trips to the Hague two weekends per month – with races on the Saturday evenings – in addition to dryland training in the UK.

This Saturday De Uithof in The Hague will host the first British Long Track Speed Skating Championships on a 400m artificially frozen rink.

The event marks the culmination of the first full year of efforts to rebuild long track speed skating in the UK – a year which has seen numbers swell from a handful to over 35, British records broken and Great Britain represented at the European Youth Championships.

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Aurelija and Matiss will be competing in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m races.