Sochi 2014 arena wins praise from speed-skaters

Moscow, Feb 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The second international test event for Sochi 2014's Iceberg Skating Palace is still two days away, but the arena is already earning rave reviews from top figures in the short-track speedskating world.

The fifth stage of the ISU short-track speedskating World Cup starts this weekend at the futuristic 12,000-seater arena, which only opened in December.

"The facility is great," said Canada's short-track program director Yves Hamelin, who led the Canadians to two goals and five overall medals at Vancouver 2010.

"Everything required for short track has been done here. Everything is provided for the athletes, all details were considered including, the issues of ice safety."

More than 180 athletes from 27 countries will skate over the weekend; some have already had their first training sessions on the Sochi ice.

"Everything is good here," Dutch skater Daan Breeuwsma said. "The arena is great and the outlines of the circle are clear. The ice is getting better and we are building up our speed, skating with pleasure. I'm eagerly waiting competition."

The blue-and-white arena is one of six Games facilities in the coastal Olympic Park. It is due to stage figure skating and speed-skating events a year when they start a year from now.

Along with Ice Cube Curling Arena and the Shayba Arena, the Iceberg Arena was designed to be dismantled and relocated so other parts of the country can benefit from the Sochi legacy.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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