“As of the age of 4, everyone who can walk can do ice skating,” Tekelioglu said.

The year was 1965 and he was 9 years old.

“Genclik Park’s pond was frozen at minus 19 degrees Celsius (-2.2 degrees Fahrenheit). I was mesmerized by it. Ankara did not have an ice rink then.

“We started skating on the pond, or poured water on the ground and waited for it to freeze,” the 74-year-old told Anadolu Agency.

Genclik Park, Turkish for youth, is one of the oldest green spaces of the capital.

“We fell into the icy water when the ice broke. But we never gave up. We would wait for our clothes to dry and then resume skating,” he recalled.

This childhood playtime activity turned into a serious hobby with time. He founded an ice skating club in 1967 and it was officially registered in 1972.

Nine years later, Ankara inaugurated its first ice rink, a milestone for the sport.

“Once the rink opened, I started giving ice skating courses.”

When asked who should join the sport, Tekelioglu said anyone who can walk.


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