Finland lives this weekend its second national qualifications


Valley Bay Synchro is also competing for a spot at the Junior World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, in March. (Credits: Johannes Ollikainen - 2021)

ISU teams from Finland are skating this weekend in Espoo. Today, let's focus on the local teams, Valley Bay Synchro (Junior) and Valley Bay Synchronics (Novice), that keep on impressing the public with their improvement and creative programs.

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Here is a synchro family that amazes and improves year after year. Eleven teams in total make up this club located in Espoo, Finland, where the Finnish second qualifications take place this weekend. 

"Our club has ten synchro teams, plus the senior team Lumineers founded in collaboration with 2 Espoo-based Figure Skating Clubs, our club Espoon Jäätaiturit and the other one being Espoon Taitoluisteluklubi," said one of the coaches Henriikka Latva who is also an ISU technical specialist.

Skaters usually start at a young age in this skating school, and from there, they can choose between single skating and synchronized skating.

"Our youngest competing team is Valley Bay Synchrokids, ages from 8 to 10 years training four times a week. From there, the more competitive route goes from Juvenile team Valley Bay Synchronettes to Advanced Novice team Valley Bay Synchronics, ISU Junior team Valley Bay Synchro, and finally ISU senior team Lumineers. Novice, Junior and Senior practice five days a week."

The club also offers skating possibilities in teams that practice 1-3 a week. "We have a Basic Novice team, two Junior B teams, senior B, Masters and Adult," continued Henriikka Latva.

"The work we have done during the last 5-6 years is now showing in the results"
The Novice team Valley Bay Synchronics has been leading the first national qualifications. "The skaters have usually started their skating career at the age of 5 or 6, so they already have a lot of experience in the sport," explained Henriikka Latva.

"We focus quite a lot on developing their individual skating skills, including spins and jumps. Valley Bay Synchronics and Valley Bay Synchro share mainly the same coaching team, so the skaters are taught the same way. With the whole coaching staff, we have wanted to figure out what a well-rounded skater should learn at each level to become a world-class synchronized skater. The work we have done during the last 5-6 years from the beginner level up to junior is now showing in the results."

Valley Bay Synchronics (Novice Adv) and its "Sinfonian synty". (Credits: Ville Vairinen - 2021)

Valley Bay Synchro, the junior team, finished 3rd in the last national qualifiers. The last few days before the second qualification, they focused on perfecting their programs, especially on speed, acceleration, and interpretation.

"We are doing a different twist on the character "Carmen" in our free program, so this requires a lot of maturity from our skaters in their interpretation skills.

In our short program, we are skating to "The Giving Tree" story. The music is" To Build A Home" by The Cinematic Orchestra, so this program is very emotional and lyrical, which is well suited to our skaters," she continued.

Covid and training conditions
Valley Bay junior and novice teams are doing well for these national qualifications! "For most of this season, we've been able to train normally, which is great after last season when we were off the ice for several months."

So far, the teams have been able to train quite normally, even with the resurgence of Covid. "We do have to wear masks everywhere except on the ice and when training. Since this week, we also have a new rule that everyone over 16 needs to have the EU COVID Certificate for being double vaccinated or a negative test result from a COVID test. Without this, you can't enter an ice rink," said the coaching staff.

The situation with the pandemic seems to be ever-changing, so it's hard to predict what will happen with the rest of the season, explained the coaches.

"The Finnish competition organizers have great experience holding well-organized and safe events. We have trust that these competitions can be held safely with the current regulations. Of course, it would be fantastic if we could have so-called "normal competitions" with big crowds and loud cheering. We also truly hope that international competitions can take place this season! But of course, safety comes first, and we will be following the situation closely," concluded the coaches.

Do not miss the second part of this interview in a few days on Jura Synchro. 

In the meantime, discover the scores of the second Finnish qualifications!