The second National Figure Skating Championships are to be held on Saturday afternoon from 12pm until 5pm at the Ice Park on the fourth floor of Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh.
The competition, which is sanctioned by the Cambodia Ice Skating Federation, will be jointly organised by the CISF and Ice Park with support from the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport and the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, along with Aeon Mall.
While medals will be awarded for the top three finishers in each category, the highest scoring Cambodian skater will be named national championFigure skating, which combines athletic ability and artistic performance, is a sport in which individuals, pairs, and groups skate, perform or compete on figure skates, which incorporate special blades that with various types of toe picks can increase a skater’s jumps and spins.
A truly unique sport, figure skating combines athletic ability with artistic performance on ice and was part of the very first Winter Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
To qualify for the National Championships, skaters had to be more than just beginners. However, because figure skating, and ice skating in general, in Cambodia is still new, the entry level was set relatively low to allow for increased participation.
The second edition will involve singles contests in Star, Pre-preliminary, Preliminary and Elementary categories. Skaters will have the ice to themselves for one to two minutes to perform a choreographed program, set to music, that demonstrates difficult required elements, such as turns, gliding, spins and jumps.
The competition will be scored by a panel of judges using the International Judging System. This is the system used at all International Skating Union events, such as the World Championships, Grand Prix Series, Winter Olympics, Asian Winter Games and Sea Games.
The event is open to spectators and free of charge, and the public is encouraged to come show its support.
The Cambodia Ice Skating Federation was formed in 2015 in the hope of building a team of skaters to represent Cambodia internationally.
“Cambodia’s flag has only ever flown at the Summer Olympics. One day we want to see Cambodia’s flag flying at the Winter Olympics too,” said Long Sotheavy, the secretary-general of the CISF.
To help train local skaters and prepare them for international events, an American coach, Ben Blandford, was hired by Ice Park and flown in a month ago to lend his expertise to the Kingdom’s fledgling skating team.
“We are trying to build awareness of the sport of figure skating in Cambodia,” Blandford said.
“It is considered more of a winter sport, which is a foreign concept for this tropical climate. But being able to ice skate in Cambodia is a great escape from the heat and a wonderful recreational activity – plus it’s fun to watch!”