Teen needs funds to get to figure-skating event

Figure skater Nicolas van de Vijver is fundraising to make his dream of competing at the Budapest Junior Grand Prix a reality. Photograph: Supplied

Nicolas van de Vijver, an 18-year-old figure skater from Edgemead is set to represent South Africa at the Budapest Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating later this month, but he needs help to get there.

Nicholas hopes to qualify at the event, which is taking place from September 20 to 23, for the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in February next year.

The UCT Online High School matric pupil was selected to compete at two Junior Grand Prix competitions in the 2023/2024 season but was unable to make the Bangkok Junior Grand Prix in August as it clashed with his preliminary examinations. He will now only be competing at the Budapest Junior Grand Prix.

Nicholas started skating when he was 7 at the Black Panthers Club at the Ice Station at GrandWest, and he has been the national champion in the boys’ or men’s single skating section since 2015. He spends roughly 15 hours a week training, both on and off the ice, and also coaches for a Learn to Skate programme at the Ice Station and for the Black Panthers and Junior Blades development clubs.

In January, he competed in the Merano Ice Trophy, where he placed second. In February, he competed at the Bavarian Open in Oberstdorf, Germany and the Sofia Trophy in Sofia Bulgaria where he placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Balancing matric and being an athlete can be very challenging, Nicholas says, but he plans to pursue a career in figure skating. The time spent on training and competing, he says, should stand him in good stead.

“I am very excited as well as nervous about competing at the Grand Prix, where some of the best junior skaters in the world will also be competing. But I’m also determined to use this opportunity to qualify for the Junior World Championships in 2024.”

Nicholas is hoping to raise R100 000 through BackaBuddy to compete at the Junior Grand Prix as well as to train in Italy.

IceLab in Bergamo, Italy, where he has spent some time training since March last year, is one of five International Skating Union (ISU) centres of excellence in the world.

“We have great admiration for Nicolas’s determination to succeed and his commitment to figure skating, which is a very tough sport. He has overcome many obstacles to get to where he is, and we are very proud of his achievements,” says his mom, Linda van de Vijver.

Broadway on Sunday, an afternoon of Broadway hits sung by Vocal Unity, a choir led by pianist Jeremy Quickfall, at Christ Church Constantia on Sunday September 10, from 3pm, is one of the fund-raising events Nicholas’s family are holding to help him reach his dream.

Tickets cost R100 and are available on through Quicket.