PANAJI: Special Olympics Bharat’s 35 athletes, drawn from seven states of India set the Tau Devilal Stadium Gurgaon, Haryana, alive with excitement and determination to enhance their stamina in preparation of the Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held in Kazan, Russia in 2022, says a press release issued from New Delhi.

The National Coaching Camp supported by the Sports Authority of India, and in partnership with GMDA and iskate, has been going on since 19 March and continues until 30 March 2021, witnessing participation of campers from Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh across Figure and Speed Skating. The training sessions are held twice daily, from 7-10am and from 4 to 7pm covering warm-ups and skill training.

Haryana Sports Minister, Sandeep Singh visited the stadium to attend an alternative event. At its conclusion he consented to attend the practise session, engaging with the athletes, observing them learn the skill as well as communicate with each other. Seeing the speed and figure skating set-up, he expressed a desire to explore a possibility of installing a bigger and a permanent setup at the Devilal Stadium. Unable to hold the camp at the venue, iskate, (originally located at the Ambience Mall, Gurgaon) and in association with SO Bharat since 2011, installed the floor at the Stadium to keep the athletes in practice.

Complying with the Covid-19 norms and the corresponding SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) laid out by the Sports Authority of India/ Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the camp ensured that the required medical support is constantly on the standby. Daily health parameters are monitored, like the weight, Blood Pressure, Temperature and more. A separate committee has been formed to monitor compliance. Social distancing and hygiene protocols are being implemented consistently.

Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform spins, jumps, footwork and other intricate and challenging moves on ice skates. Figure skaters compete at various levels from beginner up to the Olympic level (senior). Speed Skating is a lifetime fitness sport that provides both cardiovascular and aerobic benefits as well as improving muscle strength, balance, and coordination

Figure and Speed Skating, while common across balancing skill and coordination, differ in the moves. While Figure skating trains the athletes in different formations, Speed Skating focuses on speed and direction.

Virender, Area Director, SO Bharat- Haryana, said: “We are preparing the athletes for long & short distance speed skating. All figure skaters would pitch for level two across 15 skills. As the camp concludes we will have the Speed Skaters practice regularly on Roller Skates while advising the Figure skaters to keep listening and dancing to music, to get accustomed to formations in sync with a rhythm”.

Chandrabhan, coach of Figure Skating, has been training the Special Athletes since iskate was inaugurated in 2011. “The willingness of the Special Athletes, to comply to instructions is unmatched. We have seen them improve in skills and in social behaviour. They all enjoy a sense of community and do not hesitate to reach out to each other. It is very heartening to see them learn from the very first step. That is a great achievement, both, for the athlete and the Caoach”, he said.


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