27 athletes to participate in national figure skating eventJune 22, 2019, Gurgaon
Manjesh Tiwari, 12, has been working on his double axel for more than three months now. The move, one of the most difficult to execute in figure skating, where the skater takes off while facing forward and does two-and-a-half rotations, is his favourite. Tiwari, a resident of Delhi’s Paharganj, wants to perfect it before the upcoming figure skating competition in Beijing in August — his second such international tournament. He had won gold in the first.
Around 27 ice skaters are participating in the National Ice Figure Skating Championships, organised by the Ice Skating Association of India from June 17 to 25 in Gurugram. The skaters, aged between 10 and 20, are from Gurugram, Delhi, Noida and even Visakhapatnam and Bengaluru. According to the organisers, the final competition will be held on Tuesday, where they will be judged on the sport’s four disciplines — single, pair, ice dance and synchronised skating. Two skaters will be selected from each age group, who will go on to participate in the Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy to be held in Beijing, China from August 5 to 9.
SC Narang, director, Ice Skating Association of India, a body formed in 2002 and affiliated with the International Olympic Committee, said the skaters were chosen by the association on the criteria that they have participated in either state-level or national-level ice figure skating competitions earlier. “Not many people in the country know of winter sports such as ice skating and hence we don’t see much participation,” he said, adding there isn’t much infrastructure for the sport too. A privately owned ice-skating rink at Gurugram’s Ambience Mall is the only one in National Capital Region, and the only one in the country that uses real ice, Narang said, adding many have to travel from far to access it.
Arun Kumar, 19, who hails from Visakhapatnam, said he started ice skating in class 6, and wants to be a professional figure skater. However, due to lack of opportunities for the sport in the country, he isn’t sure if it’s possible. “If selected, this will be my first international competition in ice skating. I have been practising for more than two months,” he said, adding his college has sponsored him for the same.