Great Starts campaign can help put roller skating on Olympic agenda

Ealing Times: Olympic boost: Anne-Marie Waugh flanked by Chris Hoy and Laim Tancock Olympic boost: Anne-Marie Waugh flanked by Chris Hoy and Laim Tancock

THE DUST might have only just settled on London 2012, but Ealing’s Anne-Marie Waugh is already looking forward to the 2020 Games after her campaign to see roller skates under the bright Olympic lights received a boost last week.

While many people choose to play sport on their own two feet, Anne-Marie is all about having fun on wheels as chief executive of the British Roller Sports Federation, as well as setting up a charity called RollaDoma – teaching young people how to roller skate.

Though still very much a niche sport in this country, it is on the rise after a bid was put together to include speed skating in the 2020 Olympics, as well as Great Britain sending a team to the first Roll Ball Championships held in India last year.

Keen to help the sport evolve, Anne-Marie saw the 2012 Gillette Great Starts campaign as an ideal competition, a programme working in partnership with Sports Coach UK to sponsor a significant number of coaching qualifications.

After entering via Gillette’s Facebook page, the campaign concluded at an event attended by ambassadors Sir Chris Hoy, winner of six Olympic gold medals, and swimmer Liam Tancock, who celebrated with the successful recipients of this year’s grants in London.

Also in attendance were Loughborough swimming coach Ben Titley and British Cycling coach Shane Sutton.

Anne-Marie insists rubbing shoulders with such sporting greats is just the boost she needs to help raise the profile of roller sports.

“I run the national governing body for roller sports, and developing our coaching has been a major part of our re-launch,” she said. “I wanted to be able to accredit the coaches we teach.

“At the moment, we pay people to come in and do this and I thought that, if I am already tutoring and coaching, maybe it would be an asset if I could then do assessing.

“We are developing a coaching package from beginner to end.  The tutor who runs the courses for the coaches will have a qualification and, at the end of the course, being an assessor will mean I can personally assess the coaches to determine whether our tutors have passed the knowledge across.

“It will make such a difference and it will have a great impact to have that in-house and should really help this sport grow.”

Though there were no skating sports in the capital this summer, her influence was felt when members took part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Anne-Marie insists this is evidence it is a sport that is very much on the up.

“We had skaters in the opening and closing ceremonies and the phone has not stopped ringing,” she added.

“What people don’t see are the 40,000 people that are out their competing every weekend. If roller discos introduce them to our sport, it is no problem to me.
“I don’t care if they come because they have been out partying and like to dance on skates because we will teach them and they will want to get involved in other disciplines.”

The 2012 Gillette ‘Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications.

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