- Title: Amid deprivation, Gaza youth skate in search of fun
- Date: 30th April 2019
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (APRIL 29, 2019) (REUTERS) CHILDREN PRACTISING SKATING VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PRACTISING SKATING ON STAIRS CHILDREN SITTING IN ROW AND LISTENING TO COACH COACH, YEHYA ASHOUR, AND COACH, MUSTAFA SARHAN, TALKING TO CHILDREN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) COACH, YEHYA ASHOUR, SAYING: "We started to develop our game by watching online videos because there are no places in Gaza for training. We learn from online videos and we developed little by little until we formed a team and we established an academy, here we are today." VARIOUS OF GIRLS PUTTING ON SKATES AND PREPARING FOR TRAINING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GIRL FROM GAZA PRACTISING SKATING, SAMAR EID, SAYING: "I like this thing (sport) and I am used to it, at this sport we fall down sometimes, it is hard but I am used to it." GIRL FALLING DOWN DURING TRAINING VARIOUS OF SKATERS TRAINING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) COACH, MUSTAFA SARHAN, SAYING: "The obstacles we face are; there are no resources, no places (for training), no protective gear. If we want to try new moves we can't because it is dangerous and there is no protective gear." VARIOUS OF SKATERS TRAINING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GIRL FROM GAZA PRACTISING SKATING, DANA EID, SAYING: "I learned it, in the beginning it was hard for me but now I feel that I belong here and I am more encouraged and I played it more, until I reached this point." VARIOUS OF SKATERS TRAINING
- Embargoed: 14th May 2019 16:46
- Keywords: skating in Gaza sports in Gaza Gaza skaters Gaza skating community skating
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001ACNK385
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: At a Gaza beachfront skatepark, Palestinian youngsters on skateboards and rollerblades zip around curves and jump over concrete obstacles to the delight of onlookers.
Calling themselves the "Gaza skate team", a group of about 20 youths hold weekly training sessions overseen by several coaches, who watch videos on the internet to improve their skating skills.
Skating equipment is hard to come by in Gaza, where poverty runs deep and Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, maintain tight restrictions along the border.
The lack of access to sufficient resources and protective gear come in the way of the skaters' development, according to coach Mustafa Sarhan.
"If we want to try new moves we can't because it is dangerous and there is no protective gear," he said.
Another coach, Mohammed al-Sawalhe, said he tries to circumvent the lack of access to resources by going around markets looking for second-hand equipment that could be adjusted and reused.
The training every Friday coincides with weekly border protests that have drawn thousands of Gaza residents every week for the past year.
The protest is held along the border with Israel to demand the right to return to lands their ancestors fled or were expelled from in 1948 during Israel's founding.
They also demand an end to a 12-year Israeli grinding blockade of the enclave, run by the Islamist Hamas group, with which Israel had fought three wars since 2008.
For Sawalhe, the training offers a way to work with the children to get them to think less about borders or the blockade, focusing their attention on the sport instead.
Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza for security reasons after Hamas took control of the territory in 2007.
The World Bank says the blockade reduced the territory, home to 2 million Palestinians, to a state of economic collapse.
(Production: Fadi Shana, Nihad Odeh, and Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh)
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