A TEN-year-old skateboarder has won a national title after creating a makeshift course in her garden.
Talented Roxana Howlett was devastated when the National Skateboarding championships were called off due to coronavirus.
The Manchester competition at the end of March was an Olympic qualifying event and Roxana had hopes of finishing in the top three.
But organisers created a ‘virtual’ replacement and she rose to the challenge by making her own garden ramp.
Roxana then set up a camera and filmed herself in action performing a stunning array of tricks, flicks and slides, and uploaded the footage to Instagram.
In a public vote she was crowned winner of what has been dubbed the ‘virtual British championships’ in a poll run by Skateboard England.
Roxana, of Exeter, Devon, who has toured the world competing, said she was thrilled to win the title.
She said: ‘I was really happy to find out I had won as I put a lot of effort into the video.
‘I definitely want to become a professional skateboarder. I love meeting new people and travelling.’
Her mum Emma Franklin, 37, said Roxana had shown an interest in skating from the age of six and her talent was quickly evident.
‘She just wants to skate as much as she can and in as many different places as she can. Maybe become a pro skater when she gets older,’ she explained.
‘I am just glad she has found something she has enjoyed doing, that is active and means she can be outside.
‘She was really pleased to win the title. She is now looking forward to the real championship that they will hopefully be able to rearrange. She had her sights on getting in the top three.’
Emma, who lives with her other daughter Molly, 15, and partner Wayne, 47, added: ‘She started messing around with her sister’s board in the garden when she was six and asked for a proper skateboard for Christmas that year.
‘She used to do tap dancing but would cry every time and say she just wanted to be a skater.
‘She started going once a week to an indoor skatepark and picked it up really naturally.
‘She loves that with skating she can do her own thing. It is a solo sport and she can just work by herself.
‘From that, she became more involved and interested and would enter local skate competitions. She did really well and would start going every day, learning different tricks.’
Emma said they had visited Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and California for competitions.
But a highlight was when they flew to Palestine last year and Roxana skated in the West Bank for a week with the charity Skatepal, set up to build skateparks and give lessons to locals.