Young Ukrainian skater who fled war-torn country for UK appeals for ice skating coach to help fulfil his dream

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A seven-year-old Ukrainian ice figure skater who is now living in Bristol after fleeing the war is searching for a new coach to help keep up his training regime.

Gosha Mandziuk, who competed nationally and was also part of an ice-hockey team, has been unable to skate for three months.

As Gosha took to the ice for the first time since joining his host family, his mother Iryna told Sky News figure skating was a big part of his life back home.

She said: “The biggest passion in all our life in our family – especially Gosha – is figure skating. He likes competitions, medals and all the process – just skating!

“It makes me sad I cannot fix it. My task is not to lose [his] skills at all.

“It’s a precise and difficult kind of sport and you need to train each day for several hours – so I want to return with something.”

Before the war, Gosha would train six days a week in Ukraine, getting up at 5am.

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Now settling in with a family in Bristol, he and his mother are looking for a new coach and somewhere to train – but the cost is considerably higher in the UK.

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“Now it is minimum five times more expensive and it’s not affordable at the moment. I need support to continue for him training, a real training process. Without a coach, we are not able to do.”

She added: “This frustrates me a lot. It makes me upset and angry. We are going to continue but it’s already three months of war. We need to continue as soon as possible as we lose skills. You need to train and have ability.”

A perilous journey

Gosha and Iryna arrived in the UK last month and are staying with Caroline Drugan and her family.

Mrs Drugan told Sky News there was a big effort to get Gosha’s skating equipment to England.

“She [Iryna] told me her husband was going to back to Kyiv – a perilous journey on a train with no lights to not draw attention to Russians there was a train moving, as they were bombing trains.

“He did that overnight, went to their apartment, picked up his skates and outfit and had to do journey in reverse and I thought wow – those skates must be quite important to this family!”

Gosha Mandziuk seven year old Ukrainian skater who has appealed for a coach to help him train now he is in the UK

She added: “If he could get on the ice it would be the one thing he could have from home that he could have here and I think it would be so positive for him to be able to continue doing the sport he loves and he is talented at.”

Gosha is hoping to find a coach in Bristol and keep his training up until he and his family can finally return to Ukraine.

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