My aunt represented the Indian team for figure skating in the early 80s. Before her, my grandfather played field hockey in the university team at state level. He also played with the great Dhyan Chand – widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time. My father – my greatest inspiration – was a roller hockey player (I would stand by the rink to watch him play) and also a speed skater.
I started skating at the age of 4 on a pair of make-shift roller skates. Initially as a roller skater, I started my competitive career in 1999 . Qualifying straight for the nationals after coming 3rd at the state level, I received the Sardar Patel Award 2004/2005 from the Gujarat government. This is one of the highest honours given to a sports person in the state.
For every athlete, the ultimate goal is the Olympics. When inline skating failed to become an Olympic sport, my move to Long Track Ice Skating was natural. I packed my bags and moved to Europe to explore the great continent and to see what would happen. My first home in Europe was Denmark.
My first ever race for Long Track Speed Skating was in Sweden, 1st December 2008 (with the advice and a little push and trust from the Indian Ice Skating Association, who have provided a great deal of support throughout my journey). It was here, for the second time in my life, I found myself on the ice, wearing a borrowed pair of skates from a Danish club – and made a complete fool of myself. But, it was a hell of an experience.
I have been continuously training hard to get better at the sport and it was a roller coaster ride until I met Marnix Koolhass who helped me find a team. I was put in touch with Wim “the champion maker!” Nieuwenhuizen (www.schaatsteamwimn.nl). He is one of the best coaches I’ve come across after my father (who happens to be one of the most successful coaches of India). I packed my bags and moved to Holland and I have been under the very watchful eyes of Wim since October 2009.
My goal is to become the first Indian to be on the ice at the Winter Olympics in the sport of Long track speed skating Training – to do so all the way to the Winter Olympics and beyond.