• Ekaterina Aleksandrovskaya and Harley Windsor compete in the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating on September 2, 2016 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. (ISU/Getty Images)
The teenager from Rooty Hill is already making his mark on the international figure skating scene.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

12 Sep 2016 - 2:24 PM  UPDATED 12 Sep 2016 - 2:31 PM

Australia is not known for producing world champion figure skaters, but that's all set to change if Harley Windsor has his way.

The 19-year old Indigenous pairs figure skater from Rooty Hill, in Sydney's west, has just made his international competitive debut with his Russian partner Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya (16), at the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in the Czech Republic.

The dynamic duo, who have been skating together for just seven months, placed 6th in the short program, skating to "Skyfall" by Adele. They placed 8th overall, in what was Windsor's second-ever pairs competition earlier this month. 

"Most pairs would have trained together for a year and a half before they even compete, so it is really quick [to be competing together]," Windsor tells SBS.

"It was a little bit nerve-wracking at first, but we've been training well, so I was confident in our ability.  We were quite happy with the results."

They weren't the only ones. Commentators were impressed with the new pair on the international scene: "I'm not sure they know how good they could be. They're big, they're strong, they're fast," said one. "A little bit more experience and it's going to be very interesting to see what they do."

Katia Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor

Windsor began ice skating when he was just eight years old, after stumbling upon an ice rink by accident.

"I was with my mum and we were near Blacktown and sort of just took a wrong turn and found an ice rink. I decided I wanted to give it a go, and I went in and I liked it," Windsor recalls.

"I kind of just loved the feeling across the ice, you get a nice cold breeze in your face and I felt like it was my thing.

"I went once a week, and then twice a week, and I started training more and more."

Windsor's parents are both Indigenous and from regional NSW - his mother Josie is from the Weilwyn and Gamilaraay people, and his father Peter is from the Gamilaraay and Ngarrable people. 

One of seven children, Windsor is the only ice skater in the family.

"My parents come from the country, and they're more into horse riding and country stuff, so ice skating is a bit of a turn in a different direction," he says with a laugh. 

"I'm the odd one out. But both my parents are 100 per cent supportive of it, whatever they can do to support me, they do it."

Daily training meant driving from Rooty Hill to Canterbury every day to work with coaches Galina and Andrei Pachin, who immediately noticed his potential.

"[He had a] great desire to learn and hard working attitude," Galina tells SBS.

"In the first weeks of training I saw a great potential in Harley as a skater - he was like plasticine and with very good coordination of movements."

While 185cm-tall Windsor started out as a singles skater, Galina and Andrei suggested he would make a good pairs skater. They started searching for a partner who would suit his skating style - someone small, slim and brave.

After trials with some Australian partners who didn't work out, they eventually found a good match in 154cm tall Russian teenager Alexandrovskaya.

The pair are now in Moscow training twice a day, six days a week, for upcoming competitions in Estonia and Finland.

"Training is going well, it's tough, but I'm happy with the results so far," says Windsor, who has so far escaped serious injury in the physically demanding sport.

Beyond the hard work, the teenager says it's difficult being away from family and friends at home.

"I do miss home. It's tough being over here by myself and not being able to speak Russian, but I get along."

Harley Windsor and his partner Katia Alexandrovskaya training off-ice. 

Windsor has got his sights set on competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, which means trying to get citizenship for Alexandrovskaya, so that they can compete for Australia together.

"My ultimate goal is obviously the Olympics," Windsor says.

"We're working hard towards that, but we've still got lots of seasons ahead of us."

Australia has not had a successful pairs team since brother and sister team Stephen Carr and Danielle McGrath in the 1990s.

Their coaches believe they have what it takes to go all the way.

"With more competition to come and with hard work and experience, we believe this pair team can get very high international results in the near future," says Galina. "Fingers crossed!"