Top figure skaters from around the world head to Sheffield in November

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Robin Cousins has hailed a “special and unique” opportunity for British figure skating after Sheffield was confirmed as host of one of six global Grand Prix events in November.

It is the first time the UK will host a Grand Prix, an invitational series comprising the world’s top-ranked skaters who will compete towards qualification for the lucrative Grand Prix final in Turin in December.

The 1,500 capacity Ice Sheffield venue, which will stage the event, also hosted the European Championships in 2012. The last global figure skating event in the UK was the 1995 World Championships at the Birmingham NEC.

Winter Olympics Package
Lewis Gibson and Lilah Fear could star in a home Grand Prix (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Cousins, the 1980 Olympic champion and current president of British Ice Skating, told the PA news agency: “There aren’t that many opportunities like this that come along, and it was one that we at British Ice Skating fought for.

“We have a long history of hosting successful events. It’s been quite a few years since we hosted a major, but to get in with a Grand Prix is quite special and unique.”

The line-ups are yet to be confirmed by the International Skating Union, with places allotted based on world rankings, but could include the likes of reigning world champions Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto.

Russian stars like Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova will not be eligible as they are currently barred as part of international sporting sanctions due to the war in Ukraine.

Cousins added: “I find it quite exciting after an Olympic year when new blood is suddenly thrust to the forefront, and at last year’s World Championships the freedom and camaraderie between skaters was very much evident.

“It is sad not to see talent on the ice from whatever country for whatever reason, but until things get sorted that is the way of the world and I am very supporting of British Ice Skating who joined the ISU in saying that until things are sorted, sanctions should remain in place.”

The event, which could also include British ice dance pair Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson following their sixth place finish in Montpellier, will take place at Ice Sheffield from November 11-13.

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