Dancing On Ice pro trains young figure skater who fled Ukraine war to UK

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A seven-year-old figure skater from Ukraine who fled the war to live in Bristol has received training from a Dancing On Ice pro-skater, after being featured on Sky News.

Gosha Mandziuk competed nationally back at home and trained six days a week, but the conflict meant he struggled to keep up his practice.

Now, the ice-skating community in the UK has rallied to support him, including US pro-skater Matt Evers, who has performed in every series of the ITV show.

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"Seeing and hearing his story really pulled at my heart strings," said Matt.

"I think as a professional skater and working with 15 different celebrities on Dancing On Ice, we can spot certain things that a normal coach or skater may not see.

"Seeing the tapes of him and from when you guys filmed, I can definitely see he has potential. Even the way he stands in his skates - he's just got it - he's a talented kid!"

Gosha has also been given training by coaches at his new local rink, Planet Ice in Bristol.

Fiona Forbes Zaldua is a lead coach there.

She said: "I've been giving him strong lessons. Getting him to stretch his legs, to stretch his arms, to look up so he doesn't look down on the ice and to bring out his really lovely confidence that he has.

"He's a very brave little boy to have gone through what he has, and we just want to support him in any way I can."

Gosha and his mother Iryna moved in with a host family in Bristol in April.

She told Sky News they've been overwhelmed by the level of support they've received.

"Since the last filming, we've met a lot of amazing people. You cannot even realise that so many people are eager to assist, to help. I'm sure he is now more confident.

"He has a lot of instructions, he goes to the ice, he has received new skates, and his skating is more, smooth so he is stronger now than he was."

'We miss home'

Iryna's husband and Gosha's father is still back in Ukraine - and Iryna hopes they'll get to go home as soon as possible.

She said: "Gosha is a hard worker. To be talented in this kind of sport you need to work hard.

"We need to return, this is his labour, his effort which he's made since he was four years old - we don't want to lose it. We miss our home, we miss our country, we miss our family and our coaches as well so we'd like to return - we need to plan."

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Until then, Matt says he'll continue to support Gosha.

"I will definitely follow his journey, and who knows, in a few years, maybe he'll be on Dancing on Ice, you never know!" he said.

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