Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Lack of proper infrastructure and encouragement has not deterred the spirit of Odisha skaters. Braving against all odds, they have stolen the show in the recently-concluded National Roller Skating Championships in Bengaluru.

Promising skaters from the State, Nikhilesh Nayak and Sagun Patel have won silver and bronze medals in the Downhill and Artistic categories respectively.

Bolstered by their success in the national level tournament, both skaters have now set their eye on Olympic glory.

However, they have trained against all odds to bring laurels for the State. In absence of proper infrastructure, they have been practicing hard for four to five hours every day on road to hone their skills. Sans craze and much awareness about the sports in the State, they have not got any encouragement from anybody.

“We have got a lot of motivation by winning medals in a national level tournament. Now we are hopeful of replicating the glory in various international level tournaments including the Olympics with a little support,” said Nikhilesh.

Besides Nikhilesh and Sagun, Kamalesh is another skater from the State who has taken part in Khelo India Games. Gradually, youth is getting interested in the game in Odisha.

“With proper infrastructure and encouragement in place, skaters in Odisha can win medals in various national and international level competitions. Our skaters are pretty talented and promising. Government and corporate sectors should come up with helping hands,” said Katyayani Nayak, Joint Secretary of Odisha Roller Skating Association.