Ukrainian refugee sisters find promising ice skating careers thanks to Swindon

The Riasna sisters pictured with their coach – (left to right) Anna Riasna (6) Swindon-born British pair skating champion Zoe Jones and Tetiana Riasna (7)

Two young Ukrainian figure skating refugees who now live 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 their mother, Natalia, and settled in Westlea.

The duo were skating nationally in Ukraine, and now, thanks to a program from Better, the charitable social enterprise that runs the Link Center in Swindon, they have been able to get their training back on track.

The initiative was launched following the Ukrainian crisis and offers free subscriptions to leisure centers or sports lessons to refugees who have recently arrived in the country.

The girls were also able to recruit British pair skating champions Christopher Boyadji and Swindon-born Zoe Jones as coaches, and they even recently competed in a competition – Young Stars in Sheffield – A much-loved national competition for young skaters. .

Natalia said: “For Tetiana and Anna, sport is not just a hobby, it’s their way of life. They are committed to working hard and getting up early every day to train before school and are completely devoted to sport.

“Now they have the perfect coaches, they are so excited. They aim to achieve international stardom.”

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