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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 08:43 GMT
East Africa's ice skating first
Skaters
For many Kenyans, skating on ice is a new experience
Kenyans have been nervously skating on ice - many for the first time - after the launch of East Africa's first ice skating facility.

The Solar Ice Rink at a Nairobi hotel, can accommodate 200 skaters and measures 15,000 square feet.

Owners hope the rink will be a big draw for tourists across the region.

"We have a lot of first-timers - some young children, but most have picked it up really quickly," said an instructor at the rink.

"We have been having a good turn-out of people here," said Muasya Musau from the Panari Hotel in Nairobi.

"A lot of people are afraid to let go of the guard rail, but when they do, they pick it up really fast."

Cool

"It is my first time trying to skate on ice. It feels incredible," Adam Ali, a new skater on the rink, told the BBC's Michael Kaloki in Nairobi.

"I think Kenyans will accept ice skating and I think many more similar places should open so that people can have choices."

It will be a new experience for Kenyans, falling down on the ice
Skater Lisa Wachera
"I love it, this is really cool, "said Oshe Muda, another skater at the rink.

Another new skater, Lisa Wachera, said: "I think this will be a good thing for Kenyans. It will be a new experience for them, falling down on the ice. There is a first time for everything."

However, many Kenyans may not be able to afford the hourly skating fees of 800 Kenyan shillings ($12) for adults and Ksh 500 for children.

Tourism and Wildlife Minister Morris Dzoro told reporters at the launch on Friday that the rink could be ranked on a par with those in Europe.

"I'm glad we have realised the Kenyan dream of being the first to offer ice skating as a sport in East and Central Africa."

However, a businessman in the city expressed doubts about the cost and suitability of the venture.

"I don't know whether this is necessary for Nairobi. I think there are other priorities," he said.


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