A NATIONAL ice skating champion is distraught at being unable to train because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lockdown rules forced rinks to close for five months before they were finally allowed to reopen by the government on August 15.

But talented 14-year-old Arabella Sear-Watkins is still struggling for time on the ice because her two closest facilities, at the Link Centre and Oxford, remain shut.

This means she faces a 100-mile round trip to Bracknell to hone her skills.

Arabella said: “Every time the government pushed back the opening date it pushed back my time to train.

"I have been seeing international skaters I compete against get back on the ice but I can’t, which is affecting my future.

“Being off the ice for such a long time is making me fall behind which is making me really frustrated because even though I can start training again now, not all of the rinks nearby are open yet so I can’t get back to the level of training I was at before.”

Instead of being on the ice, Nicole attended online classes with her coaches, did ballet and went running.

Last year she took home the British Junior Novice Figure Skating Champion title after a competition in Sheffield.

And a week earlier she landed sixth place in the international Denkova-Staviski Cup in Bulgaria.

Her mum Tamsin Sear is a also a figure skater and coaches full-time.

She said: “It’s still disappointing because the rinks that we go to, which are in Swindon and Oxford, are still closed.

"But thankfully there are others that are open so we can go there but not as much as we would like as they’re so far out.”

Before the virus hit the country the pair would both be on the ice six times a week but now it’s limited to once or twice.

A spokeswoman for Better, which operates the Link Centre, confirmed it will be reopening in September but could not give a specific date.

Once it has a date in mind it will be informing its customers.

Tamsin told the Adver: “For competitive skaters the summer is when they can really work on their technique and new elements because there is no school work, but that opportunity has been missed.

"I haven’t been able to coach over the last few months which has hit me financially too.

“My daughter has huge potential but it has been extremely frustrating because it’s not just ice skating to her, it is a sport and it’s her future that’s at risk here.”