Source: Media.AZ

On June 2, the grand opening of the ice arena at the Sports and Concert Complex named after Heydar Aliyev took place in Baku. The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan put this facility into operation in order to stimulate the development of sports such as figure skating and hockey in the country.

head of the press service of the ministry Gabil Mehdiyev , the arena will operate not only for training future athletes, but also available to amateurs.

Under the Federation of Winter Sports, sports the ice rink will be opened  for future figure skating and hockey athletes. For athletes the  training will be free this month and will be charged next month. For amateurs or those wishing to start doing these sports not for a sports career, but as a hobby, classes will also be paid, for” G. Mehdiyev noted.

The representative of the ministry also added that the cost of training has not yet been set, this will be handled by the managers of the ice arena.

In turn, Secretary General of the Azerbaijan Winter Sports Federation, President of the European Ski Mountaineering Consulate of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation Gunel Badalova said that the Federation regularly received proposals to open an ice rink so that both athletes and amateurs could practice figure skating and hockey.

“For the development of any sport among the local population, it is necessary to start with infrastructure, and then increase the number of athletes. I want to note that at the opening of the ice arena, we were approached by a lot of people who wanted to enroll their children in figure skating and hockey. Just yesterday, a woman applied to the Federation – her family had recently moved to Baku. She said that in  country where they came from her daughter was engaged in figure skating and really wants to continue working in this direction.

This suggests that there are many people in Azerbaijan who want to engage in these sports and move in this direction professionally, even among those who do not know how to skate at all. I would also like to note that among those who want to skate are not only girls, but also boys,” G. Badalova emphasized.

According to her, the Federation plans to engage in educational detail among kindergarteners and school students in order to attract those who want to engage in these sports professionally. In addition, excursions around the ice arena will be held for children as part of physical education lessons.

“The arena will operate not only for professional skating, but also for mass use. Those of all ages can visit it. To do this, we are now developing a schedule and setting prices. When the work is completed, we will publish all the necessary information by putting the ice rink into operation,” she said.

Badalova also noted that in order to work with future athletes, the Federation is negotiating with professional coaches from around the world. At the moment, figure skating coach Vitaly Novikov has arrived in Baku . The specialist has coached teams both in Russia and in the USA.

“Negotiations are also underway with ice hockey coaches. We strive for the Azerbaijanis living in our country to start practicing winter sports, therefore we attract foreign coaches, not athletes.

By the way, for the development of ski mountaineering (skiing), we invited a coach from Andorra Patrick Kampais , he has been training our guys from Gusar and Baku for a year now. Now we have only five athletes in ski mountaineering, but to increase their number we plan to hold selections in June, September and October,” our interlocutor summed up.