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Local figure skater Kaiya Ruiter hits world stage next week in Calgary

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Kaiya Ruiter continues to make a name for herself in the world of figure skating.

The 16-year-old competed in the senior ladies national championships in Oshawa, Ont., last month, skating away with the silver medal.

Ruiter won the long program and says the experience was a highlight for her.

"You know, it was probably one of the most special moments of my skating career," she said.

"Just coming out of the injury and coming out of the difficult season, to have that pinnacle moment in front of that warm audience and my family and my grandparents and to get my personal best program meant the world to me."

COMEBACK FROM TOUGH INJURY

The injury Ruiter was referring to happened last year in training when her skate cut into her leg, slicing three of her calf muscles.

She says coming back from that and winning the silver medal was exactly what she was hoping for.

"That was my motivation through all of that injury, was that I was just so mad that it happened," she said.

"So I just wanted to put all of that focus and motivation into my training and I was just so excited to be back on the ice and just so grateful to be there.

"Just to be able to be at the nationals, especially after all of hardships, it was really just gratitude just to be in that atmosphere and to get to put out my program, so it was just really special."

TURNING TO THE WORLD STAGE

Now brimming with confidence, Ruiter gets to turn her attention to the world stage.

She's competing at the 2023 world junior skating championships next week at the WinSport Event Centre.

Ruiter is the only Canadian skating in the women's event and she loves that she gets to do it in front of the hometown fans.

"I just want to go out there and put out my personal best and I've just been so excited training for this and it's just such an exciting opportunity," she said.

"I just want to go out there and represent the Maple Leaf with pride and honour."

HOMETOWN ADVANTAGE

The world juniors will take place from Feb. 27 to March 5 at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

WinSport is Ruiter's home rink and she says that's what will make this experience a special one.

"It's a dream come true to get to perform not only in front of the home crowd but this is my home rink," she said.

"This is where I train every day, so to get to have my Zamboni guy and the staff and the people I get to interact with every day get to be part of this event just makes it that much more special."

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