Gazans get their skates on at local school

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Palestinian teenagers are being put through their paces practicing skating skills and drills at a school in Gaza.

They’re part of a skating team in the coastal enclave, known as ‘Kadisia’.

Talak Ahmed, is one of the founding members.

“We were using the skates to get around. So I found out that people were looking at me and wanted to do the same as me. One by one they started to ask us to train them and to be part of the team, we were only two. Young men started to buy their skates and train with us. Now the team is around 200 members in Rafah city,” said Ahmed.

The young skaters practice three times a week at the playground in this state run school.

Ahmed said it’s a way for teenagers to use their energy and also take part in team sports.

“I wanted to play this game since I was young. I asked my father, and he bought me some roller skates. I started to play a year and half ago,” said team member Hussam Eldin Bashar.

For others who skate here, they say it motivates them to do something better.

‘‘It’s a place where we can enjoy ourselves and use our energy. Due to our situation, we started to play this game as a hobby to enjoy our time, instead of wasting our times in doing useless activities,” said Walid Lafi.

The team doesn’t receive any financial support. But they make most of their surroundings, using discarded items of furniture to practice with.

Ease of movement for those living in Gaza is difficult at the best of times, due to an Israeli blockade on the region.

Only last month Israel said it hasn’t committed to ending its Gaza blockade. Although Israel has relaxed curbs on overland civilian imports to impoverished Gaza, it signaled that the naval cordon, imposed during a 2008-2009 offensive, would remain.

Despite the barriers these young skaters face, they hope that the day will come when they can showcase their talent at an international level.