Karuna Henderson gets in some training at the Phillip Ice Skating Centre.Karuna Henderson gets in some training at the Phillip Ice Skating Centre. Photo: Graham Tidy
She's shaken her competition illness curse and Karuna Henderson hopes her renewed passion for skating will catapult her to a personal best and international selection.
Less than a year after deciding to chase an ACT Academy of Sport scholarship in cycling, Henderson has returned to skating and will join the capital's top competitors at the ACT championships today and tomorrow.
As the only skater in the senior division, the teenager faces the strange task of competing against herself.
It would be easy for Henderson to routine lightly with national championships selection almost guaranteed.
It's the second year in a row Henderson has had no rivals in Canberra, but the 17-year-old wants to improve on her 94.09 personal best and rise up the Australian rankings.
Henderson finished fifth at last year's national titles and hopes she can win Australian selection to compete internationally.
''I've been sick quite a lot this year and the last international selection competition I had tonsilitis so this is the first technical competition of the year where I'm not sick,'' Henderson said.
''I find I compete much better and feel in better mindset when I know I have to push it to beat other people, instead of just taking on myself.
''But it's a good experience when you're by yourself. It challenges me to push the boundaries and I am trying to beat my other results.''
The national titles will be in Brisbane in December and Henderson hopes to improve on her past results.
It's not how she felt at the end of last year.
After 12 years on the ice, Henderson decided she needed a change and trialled with the ACTAS Cycling Program as well as winning a 25-kilometre mountain bike Duo Classic event.
Henderson showed promise in cycling, but knew her passion was with skating.
She started skating when she was just five years old and despite being away for only four months, Henderson said getting back on the ice was harder than expected.
''I'm a keen mountain biker and I wanted to give it a go … I was low on motivation for skating last year and it was getting less exciting,'' Henderson said.
''I decided to take a break and see how I would go at cycling.
''I won my age group and ACTAS asked if I was interested in trying, so I did. But it made me realise skating is what I love and it definitely reignited my passion.''
A host of young skaters are vying for national selection. The divisions are spread out over two days.
Competition begins at 6pm today.