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Ice skating: Deeside couples Charlotte Aiken and Josh Whidborne and Louise Walden and Owen Edwards battle it out for silver and bronze at British Championships

AS the 2014 Winter Olympics loom on the sporting horizon things are heating up in the ice-cold world of figure skating.

The battle for supremacy features two couples who have called Deeside Ice Rink home and the first warning shots have been fired at the British Figure Skating and Synchro Championships at iceSheffield.

Almost 140 ice skaters and 16 synchro teams showed off their impressive skills in a bid to pick up gold, silver or bronze.

But in the figure skating competition former British Champions Louise Walden and Owen Edwards, who train at Deeside as well as in France and the USA, faced the current British champions Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, who are based in Nottingham and the States, and Charlotte Aiken and Josh Whidborne, another Deeside Ice Rink couple who are now based in Lee Valley.

Coomes and Buckland claimed the title by 30 points as Aiken and Whidborne pipped the more experienced Walden and Edwards to second spot in what was the younger duo’s first event at senior championship level.

“It was the best we had ever skated our free programme and we were so relieved and happy,” said Aiken.

The couple are now waiting to hear if they have qualified for the European Championships, which take place in Zagreb in January. If they do, they will have the opportunity to earn a place at the World Championships in March, where Olympic qualification will be decided.

For Walden and Edwards, whose preparations for the British Championships were affected last month when Hurricane Sandy hit their training base in New Jersey, their Olympic hopes are slim but they may be able to grab a late place at post worlds Olympic qualifier the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany in September.

Another former Deeside skater was also in the medals in the Senior Ladies individual event.

Katie Powell, now skating at iceSheffield, took bronze while Jenna McCorkell of Northern Ireland won her 10th British title with 123.91 points.

Ken Pendrey, National Ice Skating Association board chairman and president, said: “The British Championships were a great success once again and made for tense and thrilling viewing over the seven days in Sheffield.

“It brings together the elite of the country’s ice skating stars and is also a fantastic platform for novice and junior skaters to gain championship experience.”