Two Streatham-based youngsters have become Britain’s most successful ice dance couple this year with five medals – from every competition they have entered.
Ashlie Slatter and Atl Ongay-Perez have achieved personal bests in all their international competitions, putting them on a par with eastern European skaters who usually dominate these events.
The duo have finished the season with two silver and three bronze medals and trophies, becoming the only British ice dance competitors who consistently won a place on the podium this year.
They won their medals in five International Skating Union events, against the best in Europe ? bronze in the Halloween Cup in Budapest, Hungary ? bronze in the Volvo Open Cup in Riga, Latvia ? silver in the Open d’Andorra in Canillo, Andorra ? bronze in the Mentor Cup, in Torun, Portugal ? and silver in the Bavarian Open at Oberstdorf, Germany – where Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean trained for 1984 Olympic gold.
Ashlie and Atl have been skating together for three-and-a-half years, and their hard work and dedication is being duly rewarded. They now both have their eyes firmly set on gold at the 2026 Olympics in Torino.
The duo were the national ice dance champions in the entry level basic novice category in the 2017-2018 season – and the youngest competitors in that category. The following year 2018-2019 they moved up to the intermediate novice category and came second – as the youngest competitors that year.
They have been no 1 in the official national ranking of British Ice Dance for the last two years in the intermediate novice category.
They have come first on several occasions in the free dance section.
They are now working hard to improve their skills and technique under the guidance of the former British Olympian Diane Towler-Greens at Streatham – and her former British team member daughters Candice and Pippa as well as Roland Hailston and choreographer Mathieu Geffre-Gardiner.
Atl’s mum Caroline said: “They are still very young but their hopes are high as they are looking forward to moving up to the Advance Novice Category for next season 2020/2021, in their quest for the Holy Grail of becoming Olympic athletes in the future.”
Ashlie and Atl train 20 hours a week on ice and 8-10 hours off it – almost a full working week. They were one of the youngest competitors in their category of last season – the intermediate novices. But they are already getting the top scores that any young ice dance couple of their size can attain. So their coaches are moving them up to advanced novice level – for skaters up to 17.
They will have to spend two years in that category before being able to step into the juniors where they plan to skate at the next Youth Olympics and Grand Prix.
But their reputation is already strong. Last summer Russian olympian medalist Alexander Zhulin invited them to his bootcamp in Minsk, Belarus to consolidate their basic skating skills.
Coach Pippa Towler-Green said: “The goal for all of us is to keep them together – their coaches, choreography and even judges. If we can do that, and keep them injury-free, they will be successful.
“It is really something for British skaters to beat Russian ones. They have a real future ahead of them as long as they keep working and stay together.
“Because they are really talented. They also have something you cannot put there – a real chemistry between them. It will depend on how hungry they are. Only time will tell. We have seen lots grow up but most are not successful because they become distracted.
“They do not get any funding from the British association. But they have lots of people around supporting them, which helps.”
This summer, they will have to do a qualifier which will give them an indication of their European ranking and which areas might need improving.
Their summer holidays will therefore be spent in an ice rink – either at home or abroad.
Ashlie, a keen dancer, never misses the chance to improve her skills. Atl spends his spare time playing jazz or classical on his trumpet, the piano and the cello.