Often, superstition goes hand-in-hand with sport. Think red — the handkerchief in Steve Waugh’s left pocket, or Tiger Woods’ lucky final round shirt. But now, an Indian sports federation has taken things to a whole new level.
Monday evening, roller skaters preparing for the Asian Championship showed up for the final national camp at Kurukshetra’s Guru Dronacharya Stadium, only to be informed that the camp had been shifted some 200km away to Faridabad. The reason? The skaters’ entry into the rink before a puja – scheduled to start at 5pm at an unspecified location – was deemed to be a bad omen.
“One Mr Sood called up a senior RSFI (Roller Skating Federation of India) official in Kolkata, telling him that the team had assembled at the rink at 4.45pm,” said a skater. “Next thing we know, we are being shunted to Faridabad.”
Tuesday morning’s training session never took place either: RSFI was waiting for the priest’s green light — in the form of a fresh shubh mahurat (auspicious moment) before which they were not supposed to enter the rink in Faridabad.
“Around noon, we received fresh instructions: leave our rooms at 6pm, go to the temple and gurudwara to pray and reach the rink at —not before — 7pm,” said another skater, part of the 10-member men’s team that will take part in the Asian Roller Skating Championship in China starting September 24.
The official reason behind the shift could not be determined — RSFI president Arun Walia could not be reached, secretary general Rahul Rana expressed his inability to take calls via SMS, while vice-president GS Khurmi said he had been busy dealing with flood damage to the Jammu rink.
Two skipped sessions later, a skater chose to focus on the lighter side: “Perhaps there’s no need to train. Panditji will perform a yagya and we will come home victorious!”