Fri, 08 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], October 4 (ANI): The Indian skating team was given a warm welcome following their bronze medal win at the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou on Tuesday night.

The India skating contingent captured its first medal at the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou as the women's speed skating 3000 m relay team consisting of Heeral Sadhu, Kartika Jagadeeswaran and Aarathy Kasturi Raj secured a bronze medal in the final on Monday. With timings of 4:34.861 minutes, India managed to secure a bronze medal.

The gold medal went to Chinese Taipei (4:19.447 minutes) and the silver went to South Korea (4:21.146 minutes).

Later, it was a double delight for India as they back-to-back bronze medals in sport as the men's speed skating 3000 m relay team secured the third position in the final as well. The team consisted of Aryan Pal, Anand Kumar, Siddhant, and Vikram.

The Indians clocked the timings of 4:10.128 minutes. The top prize was won by Chinese Taipei (4:05.692 minutes) while the silver medal was captured by South Korea (4:05.702 minutes).

Welcomed at the New Delhi airport, the Indian women's skating team expressed their happiness at the win.

"I feel very proud. Getting a medal in Asian Games is so hard and we got it. We want to get gold in the Asian Games. Been working for previous ten years for it." said Karthika.

Kasturi said it was a dream come true for her.

"We have got the outcome of our hard work of years. Maybe we can go up in the next Asian Games to a gold. As a team, we have worked since December last academics and skating, I got the support of my team. Challenges are part of sport. My dad is my biggest support, he came for the Asian Games. My mother looks after my academics. My husband, a cricketer (Indian cricketer Sandeep Warrier), has always encouraged me to skate. He also looked after my diet, and fitness. I would also like to thank Tamil Nadu government and Roller Skating Federation for their sport," she said.

Heeral, another member of the team said, "I am 17. Playing and winning a medal at the Asian Games was a dream for me. Though we are all happy, we are sad about missing out on team gold and individual medals. But for our sport, this bronze is above a gold medal. My mom was there at the Asian Games. My coach Rahul sir has had a big role in my game. He was transferred from stadium to school and this affected my training and my mind was shaken. Otherwise, we could have gone much higher."The men's skating team also expressed their happiness at the win.

Vikram, a team member told ANI, "We won a bronze medal. It is a big moment for our federation and sport. We have been working for a medal for years. There is a lot of hard work behind every medal. Hoping to win as much medals as possible for India and get skating more recognition."Another player, Anand Kumar said, "I am thrilled to be a part of the Indian bronze medal-winning team. I have been skating since 14 years and the past two years have been dedicated to this event only."Bronze Medallist Aryan Pal said, "I feel good because after 2010, we won a medal in skating. Both men's and women's teams secured a medal, which is good. The federation kept us together and helped us in training. The team unity and coaching, coach-player bond is important for any team."Tulsiram Agarwal, the chief of the Roller Skating Federation of India said that the performance of the skaters was one to be cherished.

"This is a moment to be cherished for years. We had been waiting for it since years. For 12 years, we have been calling an Italian coach for our training. Now we want to qualify for the Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028 Olympics" he said.

The federation chief however, pointed out that after being included in the National Games last year and winning 17 medals, skating has not been included this time.

"We urge the government and Prime Minister to look into it. The way PM takes an interest in sports, and motivates players is really unprecedented in our country. We are becoming a sporting country under his leadership. We appeal to be included under 'priority sports' so that we get government help, logistical, financial support etc," he added. (ANI)

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