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Lin will enjoy home ice advantage at ISU Junior Grand Prix

Connaught skater finishes fourth at Chinese Taipei Nationals to earn spot in Richmond event
Connaught's Annie Lin and her coach Keegan Murphy have been busy preparing for next week's ISU Junior Grand Prix series event at Minoru Arenas.

Annie Lin will be competing in her own training rink at next week’s ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada 2018 event and it took travelling nearly 10,000 kilometres to get there.

The Grade 10 Richmond Secondary student and Connaught Skating Club member earned her way to the international stage by finishing fourth at this summer’s Chinese Taipei Junior National Championships. That got her an international assignment which just happens to be the ISU Grand Prix at Minoru Arenas where Lin has spent the last four years working with Connaught.

It was at the Taipei Arena Ice Land — the capital’s lone rink in a city of nearly three million — where she stepped on the ice for the first time.

“I started skating because my mom and dad took me to the rink when I was little,” said Lin. “It’s really only been the last few years that skating has become popular there.”

When Lin turned 10, her parents decided to spend their summers in Vancouver to provide better training opportunities. That’s when she teamed up with Connaught and competitive head coach Keegan Murphy.

“It’s taken a huge team effort to make this level of skating come true for Annie. She didn’t have the blessing of being in a city with lots of ice rinks and coaches,” said Murphy. “She really had to dig her way up. I just feel really proud and fortunate I was able to catch her and help her.

“Really it’s her mom and dad who took the leaps and bounds to find their way to Vancouver to work with me.”

The ISU stop at Minoru Arenas will be Lin’s second at the international level. Two years ago she competed in Russia. She needed to be in the top four at the 2018 nationals to earn another opportunity and she did it by the margin of 0.3 points in the final standings after her long program. The fact the competition happens to be in Richmond is nothing more than fate.

The last time Skate Canada hosted an ISU Junior Grand Prix event was 13 years ago in Montreal.

“It’s very exciting and I am looking forward to it,”smiled Lin. “It’s going to help me being so familiar with everything and not having to travel as well. I think I will be slightly nervous too just competing in front of so many people I know.”

Murphy says his student will be much more prepared compared to her debut in Russia after putting in plenty of hard work at the Richmond Ice Centre over the summer.

“She was inexperienced in a lot of ways in Russia and now she gets to return to the international level,” added Murphy.

“Last year was a challenging year for her living back in Taiwan and she was going to school so skating wasn’t the priority so much. Now it is again she has really earned her spot for this event.

“This moment is a nice big credit to Annie and her family and decisions they have made the last four years.”