A young Sheffield skater and his home sporting venue – iceSheffield at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park – have the world at their feet, after PJ Hallam qualified for this month’s World Figure Skating Championships.
PJ, full name Peter James, from Wincobank, has become GB’s sole individual male representative at the 2019 Championships, where Torvill and Dean achieved international recognition four times.
It’s a remarkable achievement for the 23-year-old, who began skating 15 years ago as a young schoolboy on iceSheffield’s Learn to Skate programme.
PJ achieved a minimum technical score of 64.66 at the Challenge Cup in Holland – finishing fourth overall with a combined score of 196.67 – to book his place at the World Championships, which take place in Saitama, Japan, on 18-24 March.
The qualification also follows PJ’s second-placed finish at the British National Championships earlier this season.
This comes in a year in which iceSheffield celebrates the 15th anniversary of its renowned Learn to Skate development programme, from which PJ progressed after first joining the scheme aged just eight.
Now also a coach at iceSheffield, PJ said: “It’s not quite sunk in yet – I’m over the moon.
“This is a huge opportunity for me – I’m super proud and really want to push myself as far as I can. It’s without doubt my greatest achievement to date, but I’m now looking to go even further than qualify.
“iceSheffield has been my home for 15 years, so this is not just an achievement for me, but an achievement for the venue, my coach Dawn and for Sheffield as a city.
“To those who aspire to follow in my footsteps I’d say stick with it. If you’re dedicated and you want to succeed then keep pushing – and eventually you’ll get there.”
Mum Jill said: “We’re all thrilled for PJ, this is reward for his hard work, determination and dedication.
“It’s also a fantastic tribute to his coach, Dawn Peckett, at iceSheffield – she is very much his ‘mum on the ice’ and has guided him from the very start.
“We’re all ecstatic for PJ. This is the biggest achievement of his career to date, but he won’t be going out to Japan just to make up the numbers – he will be looking to make his mark on the world stage.”
Andrew Snelling, chief executive of SIV, which operates iceSheffield, said: “PJ’s qualification for the World Figure Skating Championships is an outstanding achievement.
“It goes without saying that we’ve kept a close eye on his progress throughout his career to date. His dedication is demonstrated by the fact that he’s straight back to work, coaching the next generation just days after his greatest career achievement to date.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him compete in Japan and to see where his career will go next.”
iceSheffield currently has more than 1,100 youngsters on its development programmes – for more information, visit https://www.siv.org.uk/page/ice-skating-lessons.