Interview

A new country is interested in learning synchro


If the project succeeds, new synchro teams could be created in Africa. / Credits: Tero Wester Photography

New horizons opened for synchronized skating in hot countries? At least that's the idea of Thando Silitshena who wants to develop synchro in Botswana, the neighboring country of South Africa. Interview.


To begin, could you explain your idea?
Thando Silitshena: The project is about building and providing an arena for the children and the community of Botswana at large to enjoy the same sporting benefits that are being enjoyed elsewhere around the world. The project aims to build an ice rink in Botswana where we can get professional skaters to give lessons to groups of children to train in all ice-skating sport, including synchronised skating. The idea is to make available the same benefits on a more global level.

Why is this project so important to you?
Synchro, for the moment, seems to be only available for communities that live in cold climates. However, we are now living in a more open and technologically advanced world. So, the project wants to involve people in poorer backgrounds who are not necessarily in a colder climate in the same sporting opportunities and competitive arena. This will help enhance the sport in making it more competitive and bring it to the forefront in the global arena, promoting the sport as an open sport that is all-inclusive.

 


Coaches will be sourced in neighboring South Africa, in the initial stages

—  Thando Silitshena

How those schools will be organized? 

The schools will be housed on a piece of land in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana and lessons will be held on a daily basis. The school will work with the local primary schools and work out a program where they can be part of the children’s PE lessons. Also, on offer will be after-school clubs where groups of young people will be trained by professional skaters in their different levels and fields.

What about the coaches?
Coaches will be sourced in neighboring South Africa, in the initial stages, where they will be sourced according to their qualifications and skills. In the long run, we would also aim to train our own, local people to be coaches and trainers.

Who is your project aimed at?
The target audience will initially be children from 3 years old. However, since ice skating will be a new phenomenon to the area, we will open the gates to anyone interested in learning how to skate.
 
Do you already have a calendar for this project?
Ideally, it would be great to get funding for this project so we could start the building project in time to open the doors for the schools in January 2019.

South Africa has already started to develop synchronized skating teams. Why not imagine hosting Botswana teams in the international competition in the future?