Ice rink melts for first time in 20 years, hours before competition

More than 400 skaters were due to compete in Guildford

Ice rink melts for first time in 20 years, hours before competition

Top British ice skaters were left stunned when they arrived at a national contest to find the rink had melted.

More than 400 male and female figure skaters of all ages were due to compete at the Guildford Spectrum leisure centre in Guildford, Surrey, on Monday.

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The four-day event, entitled the Guildford Open IJS 2017, was billed as the chance to watch some of the country's best skaters, Get Surrey reports.

But performers and visitors were left disappointed when a "catastrophic failure" with the rink's refrigeration plant meant there was no ice to skate on.

Credits: Surrey Advertiser

More than 400 male and female skaters of all ages were due to compete

Organisers first became aware of the problem on the afternoon of Sunday and arranged an emergency refrigeration plant but couldn't freeze the ice in time for the event.

They said this is the first time since 1995 that something like this has happened.

In a statement, event referee Stephen Fernandez said: "It is with great regret that we have had to cancel the first day of this year's event.

"This has been due to events outside the organising committee's control.

Credits: Surrey Advertiser

But a failure with the ice freezer meant the rink had melted when they arrived at the leisure centre

"There has been a catastrophic failure with the refrigeration plant and despite the management at the ice rink arranging an emergency refrigeration plant they were unable to freeze the ice in time for today's event."

He added: "As I am sure everyone will be aware, in order to hold an ice skating event, we must have ice.

"At present we do not have ice, hence cancelling the events on today and the review later today for tomorrow.

Credits: Google Maps

The figure skating contest was due to take place at the Guildford Spectrum leisure centre

"The OC, rink management and referee have discussed the option of moving the today's cancelled events to another day.

"However, due to all the unpaid, volunteer officials having other commitments this has not been possible to do.

"It is rare for this to happen and the last time something of this nature has occurred was in 1995 at the World Championships held in Birmingham UK hosted by our very own NISA."

A statement on the Guildford Spectrum website said: "Due to a technical fault the ice freezer plant is down.

"We are now waiting for engineers to attend and get us up and running again.

"The public sessions for the remainder of today have been cancelled.

"The scheduled birthday parties are able to take place and will continue as planned.

"We endeavour to have the ice plant running again in time for the Guildford Open Competitions on Monday."

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