Seventh grader Amal Israilova won first place in the Novice Solo Combined Dance Category in the U.S. Figure Skating National Competition, held in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Israilova started skating when she was 6 years old, becoming incredibly passionate about the sport. She practices for about 3-4 hours every day and plans to go to the Olympics in the future.
“I love that if you can and want to dance, then you can use your skills and put them on the ice,” Israilova said. She has always been interested in figure skating because she’s able to express herself through dance on the ice. “I like that everything is harder on the ice. It’s a challenge all the time, even for people who skated for many years. You can do many graceful, beautiful and fast spins and not only use dancing skills, but flexibility,” Israilova said.
The competition itself was also a challenge as most of the contestants were around 15-19 years old, much older than 12 year old Israilova. “I couldn’t believe that I had won. I feel proud and kind of amazed receiving this award,” Israilova said.
Her parents, however, have always believed in her. “We are very proud of her. We knew she was capable of many things and never doubted her with anything she did. We always had and do have faith in her, even if she’s smaller, younger, shorter or not as experienced as others,” her parents Shukrullo and Mokhigul Israilova said.
With her parents’ support and her passion for the sport, Israilova is ready to continue making a mark in figure skating.