Nearly 1,000 students from 12 schools learned ice-skating for the first time during summer, thanks to a free programme at Cityplaza and Festival Walk. Following the successful opening phase, 18 more schools have signed up for the lessons being offered by Swire Properties. For the 12 schools who led the way, it was an exciting opportunity to learn artistic ice-skating from experienced coaches. The programme is part of the ongoing Vision On Ice (VOI), which is aimed at promoting the sport among young people. La Salle College, G T (Ellen Yeung) College, the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education and St Francis' Canossian College were among the pioneers who attended the sessions from June to August. 'The programme provides a good chance for students to try a sports activity that is not included in the traditional school curriculum,' said Chan Chow-mo, a physical education teacher at La Salle College. Other schools also praised the programme. 'It gives students access to ice-skating via their schools, and I would encourage them to take this precious opportunity,' said Karen Li, a teacher at G T (Ellen Yeung) College, whose students took to the ice rink in July. 'Our students enjoyed it so much that a substantial number of them registered for advanced-level ice-skating courses afterwards.' Swire Properties' skating services manager, Marlo Gonzalez, said the programme had received an excellent response. 'Students who wish to take up ice-skating usually have to sign up for courses in their free time. As the new academic year has just begun, we expect more schools to enrol,' he said. The programme is tailored to suit each school's schedule. First, VOI coaches and team members will give a presentation about the sport, including the basic requirements and its benefits in terms of physical fitness and personal development. This will be followed by an on-ice session at Cityplaza Ice Palace, Taikoo Shing, or Festival Walk Glacier in Kowloon Tong. Students will learn basic ice-skating skills through demonstrations by coaches and then a practice session. VOI was launched in 2002 as a community project. It aims to bring a world-class ice-skating experience to Hong Kong with the help of a wide range of courses, special training sessions with renowned visiting coaches, workshops with Olympic champions, and participation in international competitions.