Chennai: The Falcon Speed Skating Academy in Ponniyamman Kovil Street, Madipakkam, has a synthetic rink, just like the one in Nehru Indoor Stadium. Those who trained here have won 18 gold medals in various competitions within three months of its inauguration.
It is built and maintained by parents of the skaters and it is open for differently-abled children also. “It has been only three months since we started coaching here and we have won around 18 gold medals, a number of silver and bronze medals in the recent District-level tournament. We are now preparing our students for State-level tournament and CBSE tournament,” says Ranjith Kumar, one among the few parents who are maintaining the rink.
Soundarapandian, another parent said, “Children show keen interest in the sport. They don’t see this as a class. They enjoy skating with their friends. It gives them a feeling of togetherness and we are happy about it. Also, changes are clearly visible in children, in terms of sportsmanship, fitness and discipline. Children get inspired from each other and it is a healthy competition.”
G Suriyakumar, whose differently-abled daughter is also one among the 150 students of the academy, said, “I can clearly see a lot of developments in her. She has improved a lot and she is now able to mingle with everyone.”
Also, all the three masters, Karthik, Mahesh and Rajkumar, who coach the students, refused to get paid, as the parents collect fees from the students only to cover the rent and maintenance of the play area, said Sathya, one among the parents who manage the rink. Also, the managers of the rink are ready to help interested students, who come from lower strata,” Sathya added.
Karthik said, “We don’t get paid, as we work in private schools, so money is not important to us. It is a very good experience teaching these small children. We can learn a lot more than what we teach them.”