Ukrainian refugee sisters get promising ice skating careers back on track thanks to Swindon

·1-min read
The Riasna sisters pictured with their coach -  (left to right) Anna Riasna (6) Swindon-born British Pairs Skating Champion Zoe Jones and Tetiana Riasna (7)
The Riasna sisters pictured with their coach - (left to right) Anna Riasna (6) Swindon-born British Pairs Skating Champion Zoe Jones and Tetiana Riasna (7)

Two young figure skating refugees from Ukraine who are now living in Swindon have been able to get back on the ice thanks to a new initiative.

Aspiring ice skaters Tetiana Riasna, 7, and Anna Riasna, 6, left war-torn Kyiv with mother, Natalia, and have settled in Westlea.

The pair were skating at a national level in Ukraine, and now, thanks to a scheme from Better, the charitable social enterprise that runs Swindon’s Link Centre, they've been able to get their training back on track.

The initiative was launched in the wake of the Ukraine crisis and provides free leisure centre or sports course memberships to recently arrived refugees in the country.

The girls have also been able to snap up British Pairs Skating Champions, Christopher Boyadji and Swindon-born, Zoe Jones as coaches, and they have even taken recently part in a competition -  Young Stars in Sheffield - A highly regarded national competition for young skaters.

Natalia said: "For Tetiana and Anna, sport is not just a hobby, it is their way of life. They are committed to working hard and wake up early every day to go and practice before school and are completely devoted to the sport.

"Now they have the perfect coaches, they’re so excited. They have their sights set on reaching international stardom."