While the sporting world’s eyes are currently on the Tokyo Games in Japan, multiple SA figure skating champion Matthew Samuels, 23, from Summer Greens, and a member of the Grandwest-based Black Panther’s Figure Skating Club, is eyeing a spot at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Matthew is the current senior men’s champion and has been the undefeated national senior champion for the past four Years
Prior to that he was the junior men’s national champ and has won several provincial and inter-provincial titles.
He also won a gold medal at the World Development Trophy in Manila in the Philippines and was the first South African male skater to have qualified to skate in the Junior World Championship.
An all-round sporty person, Samuels has been on the ice since the age of six and have selected by the South African Figure Skating Association (SAFSA) to take part at the International Skating Union (ISU) Olympic qualifying event to be held in September, in Oberstdorf, Germany. Here he will have the opportunity to book his spot at 2022 Winter Games.
“I’ve been skating for 14 years, starting way back when I was six years old with my sister, Abigail.
“Even though we enjoyed it so much, I was terrible at skating but my sister was a natural. I was falling all over the place. I was so frustrated but I just kept coming back and eventually we both became champions,” he said.
“Qualifying for major competitions is a long, challenging and costly journey, but one that Matthew embarked on more than 14 years ago and he is within touching distance of his dream,” said his mother Suzette.
“Covering recurring costs relating to the preparation for international competitions is a continuous struggle, she said.
Although getting him to the qualifiers is now their main priority, she said he is always ready to help up-and-coming skaters and gives free lessons where possible.
He is extremely hard working and his work ethic is what gives him the opportunities he is getting.
To help raise the necessary funds, the family created a back-a-buddy page and welcomes any assistance that can be afforded.