Istanbul ice rink offers free skating training
A district municipality in Istanbul has opened an ice rink to provide its fellow citizens skating courses free of charge.
“Winter sports are quite expensive in Turkey, and we want all people to get benefit from winter sports opportunities.
That’s why we decided to build Turkey’s first-ever outdoor speed skating track here,” said Gülsen Akbal, the coordinator of Kadıköy Municipality’s Buz Fest ice rink at Kalamış Park.
“The speed skating track and ice rink are also unique for being eco-friendly. They were made using real ice and they do not contain any chemical substance,” she added.
Over 2,500 people enjoyed the 400-square-meter ice rink since it was opened on the New Year’s Eve, according to Akbal.
Although the entrance fee is 10 Turkish Liras ($1.7), the skates, helmets and knee pads are provided free of charge, and trainings are also given by experienced instructors for free.
“Children show more interest at the weekends, whereas adults come over on weekdays,” said Furkan Şimşek, an instructor and a Turkish champion in freestyle skating.
They give people a pre-training before skating and them help them on the ice rink to skate safely, he said.
Melisa Karabacak, 16, experienced skating for the first time. She said she really liked speed skating track which makes skating easier for the beginners.
“There should be more ice rinks around the city, it is a perfect hobby and magical winter experience,” she said.
Can Pekbaşaran, 10, has been skating for three years.
“I came here with friends and this place is enchanting. The ice rink gives the opportunity to skate under stars with spectacular music. I want to ice skate as a professional in the future,” he said.
The ice rink is open from noon to 9 p.m. during the week and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the weekends until Feb. 2.