Skater pushes past pain

HE HAS carved out a fierce reputation in the rink but Mark Webster's hip left him skating on thin ice.

The Glenmore Park figure skater has been to three world championships, snared a national champion title and is an eight-time state champion.

His illustrious career earned him the title of Penrith Valley Sports Foundation Senior Sportstar of the Month for September but last year, the ongoing strain of spinning and striding landed him on the operating table.

"I underwent hip surgery as I could no longer train effectively with the gradual wear and tear that my hip had suffered over the many years of skating," Webster said.

"I managed to compete at an international competition within six months after the surgery and obtained a personal best score.

"I however was unsuccessful in gaining entry to my fourth consecutive world championships but I have been training new elements that are more difficult and can earn me more points."

Once equipped with more challenging moves, Webster hopes to hone in on his goal of representing Australia at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

"The selection criteria is a difficult road, "Webster said." However with my new elements, it is possible.

"To further my training, I have just recently come back from Colorado Springs, where I have worked with highly renown coaches and skated alongside world champions.

"During that period I competed at Salt Lake City, where I got experience skating at a higher altitude and gained a higher fitness level."

Over past five years, Webster's figure skating ventures have seen him travel to Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Seoul, Italy and France.

The 22-year-old is in the midst of competing in two competitions, one in Germany and another in Slovakia.

"With these competitions I am hoping to reach personal bests which will further grant me entry into championship events such as Four Continents, World Championships and Olympics," he said.

Aside from figure skating, Webster is a full-time student at the University of Western Sydney, where he is currently in his fourth year of studying psychology.

Webster has won $800, courtesy of the PVSF Senior Sportstar of the Month sponsor Penrith

Panthers. Nominations: pvsf.org.au.

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