Figure Skater, Gian-Quen, Takes Gold in Budapest

She is 13, a national gold medal champion, and the only South African figure skater to have won an international gold medal in 2017. Last month, the then 12 year Gian-Quen Isaacs brought home the gold when she won the Figure Skating ‘Basic Novice’ section at the 2017 Santa Claus Cup in Budapest.

Born and raised in Kensington (Cape Town), Gian-Quen’s gold medal is just one of many. Since her entry into the South African National Championships in 2014, the gold medallist has been a dominant competitor and her coach says it is impressive how fast she has progressed. In 2014, she managed 4th place in the Juvenile section and in 2015 at the age of 10, she took the first place Juvenile gold. Similarly, in 2016, when she progressed to the Pre-Novice section, she took the silver and once again, in the following year of 2017, she took the first place gold. She also took first place gold at the Cape, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal Inter Provincial Championships.

Her progress on the international stage has also been rapid. In her first international competition in Croatia, she took 13th place in the ‘Basic-Novice A’ section at the 2017 Golden Bear competition. Her second international competition was at the 2017 Santa Claus Cup and of course, she took the gold.

Gian-Quen’s mom, Letitia, says that her career as a figure skater started by accident. Gian-Quen had joined an ice hockey club at the age of 7 but her coach soon realised that she had the potential to become a great figure skater. She began training and very soon, she received her Western Province colours to compete nationally. However, her rise to the top was not as easy as it sounds.

She practises every day for several hours both on and off the ice. She says that she has fallen and hurt herself several times but she never allowed a few bumps and bruises to hold her back from achieving her objective. She says that she was a bit afraid when she started, but her determination to excel was greater than her fear of failure. She says every failure is an opportunity to learn and improve. She does however admit that even after all these years, she still gets a bit nervous before she has to compete.

In addition to sports, she also excels at school. She plans on becoming a doctor like her uncle and as a result, her favourite subjects are the sciences, technology and maths. Her mom is also very strict when it comes to schoolwork. Letitia’s rule is that if Gian-Quen does not do well in school, then she cannot participate in figure skating. Although it is hard to balance schoolwork and training, like any gold medal champion, Gian-Quen has disciplined herself to manage her time well.

When she is not training, Gian-Quen enjoys reading and doing ballet. The people that know her describe her as soft spoken, modest, hardworking and willing to learn. Letitia says that she is especially impressed by how mature Gian-Quen is when she wins.  She never boasts about her wins and she always remains focused on her goals. Going forward, in addition to becoming a doctor, her goal is to work hard so that she can qualify for the Olympics by the time she reaches matric. It may seem like asking for too much, but for a champion figure skater, there is no such thing as too much.

Source(s): News24 (Tiyese Jerani), Netwerk24 (Richard Roberts), other

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