Sports Letter: Welcome return

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The Independent Online
Sir: Following critical comments published last week on Torvill and Dean's return to amateur skating, I feel we should explain how their return in fact greatly benefits British ice skating - and every skater competing in Britain.

The prevailing system to select international competitors means that Britain - having no couples ranked in the world top 10 - can only send one couple (instead of two) to the European and World Championships and Olympics.

However, should Chris and Jayne place in the top three in the world, then Britain will have qualified three couples for the 1995 World and European Championships (the World Championships to be held in March 1995 in Birmingham). Furthermore, higher world ranking in a discipline means a greater share in the World Championship revenue distributed by the ISU (skating's world governing body) - revenue which we will use to promote the sport from the grass-roots level up.

Additionally, the increased TV coverage Chris and Jayne bring has had the double effect of attracting more people to the sport - as well as a new major sponsor.

When 8,000 fans filled the Sheffield Arena a fortnight ago to see the Peoples Phone British Ice Dance Championships they witnessed not only the return of Torvill and Dean - but, what we hope will be the return of Britain to the forefront of international skating.

Yours faithfully,

HAIG OUNDJIAN

Chief Executive

National Ice Skating Association

21 January

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