INTERVIEW At 15, Lana Bagen is taking giant steps, writes Neil Drysdale

Fast forward half a decade and the teenager has stuck to her word. Having already amassed a string of national and international medals (32 gold, eight silver and two bronzes), since she started skating at the age of eight, Bagen has emerged into the spotlight with the attitude that she will put in as many hours as are required to reach the top of her sport, and thinks nothing of training sessions with a 5am start, prior to continuing her school studies in Edinburgh.

This summer, she spent her holidays under the tutelage of Michael Huth, the German maestro who coached the three-time European champion, Carolina Kostner.

Whether talking about learning from Huth or impressing the Kerrs or the former Olympic champion, Robin Cousins, Bagen possesses a relentless desire for self-improvement, which probably explains why many are predicting a bright future for the youngster.

“I love the adrenaline before you are about to skate in a competition, because it just makes me feel more determined and I really want to win,” says Bagen, whose early career was nurtured by Leanne Collins and Alice Fell at the East Kilbride and Murrayfield rinks, before she joined forces with the renowned perfectionist, Huth. “He was very disciplined, which was different from anything I had experienced before, and he was very strict. But he had a great sense of humour as well -- I just didn’t laugh until he did, to be on the safe side.

“The biggest thing for me was that I was in the same company as some of the most promising junior skaters in the world and, at the end of the summer, Michael put on a show and gave me a solo piece, which made me really proud, and it was something I totally enjoyed.

“This season, I have already had so many amazing opportunities. Robin [Cousins] was in Edinburgh in a show and he spent the week with me at Murrayfield, choreographing my long programme, for which he also chose the music. Sinead and John have worked with me every time they have been back from their hectic schedule in America, and we keep in touch through Facebook; they are always supportive and happy to help me out.”

As the flag-bearers for their country throughout the last decade, the Kerrs believe that their prodigy has an X-factor, which can be translated into future success at the highest level. “Lana is a very strong skater and an excellent spinner. She often gets Level 4s for her spins, which is the highest mark that you can achieve,” says John. “She does have a weakness in the jumping department, but she has moved to address that by working with Michael and she has a lot of ability. She is also a pleasure to work with and Sinead and I both recognise that she has the necessary drive to keep getting better.”

Bagen only recently turned 15, but has decided to pit herself against rivals in junior competition who are usually three or four years older. The challenge doesn’t appear to faze her. “I am the under-16 British and Scottish champion, but I’ve decided to move up to under-19 level,” she said. “Next year, I am shortlisted for the Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, but this depends on whether Britain are allocated a place, because it is only the top 12 countries who gain automatic spaces. I definitely want to compete in the European Youth Olympics and the World Junior Championships in 2013. I want to develop into a junior skater and take part at the very best level. As for my long-term ambition, that’s easy: I want to skate at the Olympics.”

Much can happen in the transition from gifted youth to senior challenger. Yet, there is a drive and fierce commitment about Lana Bagen which hints at something special.