KOCHI: When Haridas Nair puts on his roller skates, the adrenaline rush that he feels cannot be put into words. The passion for the sport has led Haridas to become a national-level skater and he recently won gold in the 5,000m elimination in inline speed skating and a silver medal in the inline rink 6 category at the 58th National Roller Skating Championship held at Mohali in Punjab.
City-based Haridas started skating at the age of six and within no time, was able to master in speed roller skating. “It was my father who enrolled me for skating classes in a club when I was six years old.
Though I never considered it as my hobby, soon I developed a liking towards the sport and thought of continuing it,” says Haridas. Despite getting a job in Air India at Thiruvananthapuram airport in 2014, Haridas never left his passion for skating and continued his training and won many medals for the state at the national-level roller skating championships held in places such as Chennai and Punjab.
“The championship was held in Punjab last week adhering to the Covid-19 protocol. Since I was working as an Air India staff, I usually used to practice during morning hours at least for two hours and sometimes evening after my working hours,” shares Haridas, who recently participated in his 17th national event. Explaining the benefits of skating, Haridas says, “The sport is healthy for those having breathing issues and helps in strengthening the muscles. Though it takes around three to four weeks for a person to master the sport, it can be easily learned if one can perfectly balance their body.”
Haridas has also been honing the skills of young skating champions in the city since 2017 as a coach in the Bolt Roller Skating Club at Thrikkannapuram. “There are many types of skating such as speed, artistic, freestyle. However, children in our state are not much exposed to these styles. Also, there are no proper infrastructure facilities for skating in our state. For my nationals, I had to practice in deserted roads due to the lack of such facilities,” the skating champion says. “I feel extremely proud for winning gold for my state,” says Haridas, who wishes to represent the country in the International Roller Skating Championship.
Haridas has been training more than 100 children between the ages of six and 17 in his club. Many of his students have participated in various district, state and even national level championships. In 2019, one of his students, Rithunanda Vinod, secured a bronze medal in the 57th Roller Skating Championship held in Visakhapatnam. She also secured two gold medals at the 58th National Rollerskating Championship recently held at Mohali in Punjab, probably the first Keralite to win in speed skating history. Another student Hariprasad P S secured two gold medals in Kerala State School Games in 2019.