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Nataly Yefimenko | Girls hockey in Kyrgyzstan

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I visited girls in Kyrgyzstan who dream to play hockey on a professional level but there is no sports school in the country and there is no branch for women’s hockey.

This will be a long story for the people who care about hockey and its worldwide development, in our case it’s women’s hockey development in Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬.

First, a little bit about how I found the girls from Otradnoe village (which is 30 km from Karakol, basically in the middle of nowhere): Because I travel to the Issyk-Kool region a lot and I love this country and know it pretty well, I’m constantly searching for information about it on social media. So, one day, thanks to Instagram, I discovered girls who play ice hockey on the outdoor ice rink (local kids make it on their own) in their small village and I was crazy surprised!

We started to chat with these girls and they were watching my stories and posts on Instagram. When they found out I was going to travel to their region again, they asked me to stop by and visit them. First, I thought it would be hard for me because I’m traveling with my baby, husband and friends (who have nothing to do with hockey), but no matter what, we decided to do it. And we never regretted our decision!

These people are so nice, friendly and hospitable! And you know how surprised I was to discover their passion and ambitions about hockey, their desire to practice and play at a professional level?! Especially girls! There are 13 girls in the Otradnoe village who practice all the time. They’re dreaming that the Sport Commitee of Kyrgyzstan will establish a women’s national hockey team (which doesn’t currently exist and the government is showing no interest in).

They also don’t have a professional coach who will train them—their coach is a great man (a father of one of the girls) who is a highly enthusiastic person, but unfortunately he doesn’t have any hockey experience or even skating experience. But it doesn’t stop him from organizing everything for the girls. They’ve got hockey equipment kindly donated from Switzerland (by ex-Kyrgyzstan citizens who live out there).

So I did one real hockey practice for them and donated some of my used hockey stuff. And they gave me so many positive vibes and memories. I understand these girls and their worries really well, because time flies, they’re growing up, and if they want to become professional athletes they have to act now. But how can I help on my own? If you have any ideas or suggestions, and you REALLY WANT to support development of women’s hockey worldwide (locally in Kyrgyzstan in this case), please message me on Instagram!

 

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