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by Rachel Martin, aged 11
I've practised skateboarding for 18 months now, and I was the youngest person in a street skateboarding competition last year. I spend my free time at my town's new skatepark- I rarely stay at home and watch TV.
Before the new skatepark was built this year, the nearest skatepark was in a town 10 km away. Some of my older friends went there, but my mum wouldn't let me go because I wasn't old enough. The only place to skate was on the pavements, but then I fell and injured my arm. I wasn't popular with pedestrians either, so I stopped! Nowadays, though, I can use the new skatepark in the evenings - it's got huge lights, so you can use it even at night.
We've got a skatepark at our school now, too. It keeps us fit! The school skatepark is dangerous for smaller children like my little brother, though, as the teenage students also use their rollerskates or ride their BMX bikes there. I guess they prefer it because the skatepark in town is pretty busy.
I've always found schoolwork easy, but skateboarding is hard! My favourite trick is jumping over boxes. Doing things like that really makes you concentrate, which is a challenge, but it's something I really enjoy. My older sister works as a skateboard instructor, so one day I'd like to be like her. It's unusual for girls to skate around here, so although I love it, it's a bit lonely. I'd like more girls to join in!
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