Winning has become a habit for this 21-year-old city skater G.V. Raghavendra. He happens to be the first skater from Mysore to represent India in the World Short Ice-Skating to be held at Montreal, Canada from Nov. 5 to 8 and from Nov. 12 to 15 at Marquette, USA. SOM caught up with this skater, who is leaving India on November 1, and had a brief chat with him. Excerpts:"I was very fond of learning skating and my father got me a pair of skates. At first, I used to practice at home only and I learnt balancing. Later, I joined skating class," says Raghavendra, a native of Udupi.A resident of Jayanagar and a B.Com degree holder from Maharaja's College, he aspires to do his MBA.Raghavendra, who has bagged 7 gold medals, 4 silver and 1 bronze in Roller Skating and one gold medal in Ice skating, says "dedication and regular practice is very important to excel in this field." He has also won 14 State championship and 24 State-level championships and many other prizes.Expressing joy on his selection, Raghavendra, who practices for 3 hours a day, says: "It’s an altogether different feeling and a big achievement to compete in world ice-skating championship. I feel happy as only two skaters from India are participating — myself and another skater from Maharashtra."Practicing ice-skating since 2006, he was selected for his first ‘4th National Ice Skating Championship’ in Kolkata. He went there four days in advance to practice ice-skating, as there is no rink for ice-skating here. And lo, he bagged a gold medal. "As I am selected for Short Track Ice-skating championship, I am working more to excel in the event and get selected for the winter Olympic's also."Raghavendra was first trained by his late coach Sridhara Rao for four years. After his demise, he was trained by his (Sridhara Rao) brother K. Srikantha Rao, an Ekalavya awardee and a coach at Rao's and Vishwamithra Roller Skating Club, Mysore. "My family and coaches are my biggest support. My parents have provided me full co-operation. Srikantha Rao is like my god-father and I feel he is one of the best coaches in India." When SOM contacted Srikantha Rao over phone, he said "It’s really a big achievement that a city boy has been selected for world ice-skating championship." Raghavendra's parents G. Vishwanatha Somayaji and G. Nalini are proud about their son’s achievement as nobody in their family has achieved such a milestone.
[Oct. 23, 2009]