World speed skating medallist Anand Velkumar from Tamil Nadu, world artistic champion Abhijit Amalraj from Kerala, Asian podium finisher and Gujarat National Games triple gold medallist speed skater Aarathy Kasturiraj (from Tamil Nadu), Manipur’s skateboarding sensation Ranju Chingangbam along with more than 100 international-level skaters will be vying for the top honours in the diamond jubilee celebrations of the India’s roller sports meet — 60th National Roller Skating Championship — to be held in Bengaluru and Tumkur, Karnataka, from December 11 to 22.
The championship is being organised by the Karnataka Roller Skating Association under the aegis of Roller Skating Federation of India (RSFI).
Over 4,000 skaters, representing 31 states and union territories, will compete in 12 disciplines, spread over four venues in Bengaluru and one in neighbouring district Tumkur.
Andhra Pradesh is sending the biggest contingent of 367 skaters, while hosts Karnataka’s contingent is of 328 skaters. There is a sizeable representation from the North-Eastern states, while newly-formed unit Ladakh is being represented by two women speed skaters.
“We have skaters from almost every corner of the country. The roller sports are catching up fast in the North East too and we have even good representation from Andaman Nicobar islands,” says D Bhagirath Kumar, director competition.
“Over 4000 skaters, representing 31 units, clearly show the increasing graph of roller sports in the country. The 60th edition of the national meet will be a benchmark for our future events and we are expecting a good competition as India’s top skaters, including Asian and World medallists are competing here.”
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommal will inaugurate the championship on Sunday (December 11). Member of Parliament from Bengaluru Tejasvi Surya is the chairman of the organising committee.
Apart from the opening and closing ceremonies, the speed skating events will be held in the newly-built India’s first indoor 200m banked track in Bengaluru.
“Infrastructure plays a very vital role in the development of any sport and as far as roller sports are concerned, we are lucky to have a decent infrastructure in almost all the parts of the country. Now, with the coming up of this state-of-art indoor 200m banked track, it will further boost the speed skating discipline in the country. It will also motivate other states to have indoor speed skating facilities in the coming time,” says Naresh Sharma, general secretary, Roller Skating Federation of India.
“After the national championship, we will have a selection trial for the probable for the next year’s Asian Games,” he added.