He has skateboarded his way to bag five Street League Skateboarding competition series titles, four of them in a row, but was floored by the passion for the sport among tribal children in a remote village in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna.
“I am overwhelmed by the passion of tribal children of Madhya Pradesh have for skateboarding, it is unbelievable,” says 21-year-old Nyjah Huston, the world’s top ranking professional skateboarder.
Huston is currently staying in the remote Janwaar village in Panna that has the distinction of having the only skatepark in central India.
“I got to know about the skatepark and the championship through the social media network,” says Huston.
He not only skateboarded with the tribal children, but also taught them a few board tricks. “Skateboarding is becoming popular across the world but I didn’t know children would be so skilled in a sport like in a small village that lacks basic amenities like electricity and water,” he says.
On skateboarding being included as an official sport in the Olympics Games, Hustom says, “I want children to look forward to participate in the next Olympics Games and India has a lot of scope. All they need is more skateparks and trainers.”
Huston, who started skateboarding at the age of four, says skateboarding was the only thing he wanted to do in his life.
“For me it is my life’s passion, not just a sport,” he says.
Huston, who along with his mother runs a campaign called “Let It Flow”, under which his team takes up projects to solve water scarcity in remote villages, says: “My mother came to know that people in villages here have to fetch water from far-off sources. I was shocked to know that people do not have electricity or even proper clean drinking water.”
Huston and his team have helped villagers by installing solar panels so that people can have uninterrupted supply of electricity in the village, says Ulrike Reinhard, who set of the skatepark in Janwaar.
“We do not have flood lights at the skatepark and now we will be able to fulfill that requirement too,” she says.
Villagers had a tough time during the drought last year due to which a few people died, says Shail Desai, a volunteer at the skatepark. “We have set up a solar water pumping system with the help of Huston’s team and now we have water throughout the year,” he says.