A pair of skates gifted on her eighth birthday gave Jyoti Rana a passion for life.
Today, the same passion for skating has given the city youngster another perfect gift, just before she tur ns nineteen next week: Jyoti has availed full scholarship at the USA-based IOWA State University, for pursuing a four-year degree in B.Tech (Computer Engineering), due to her exploits in the skating rink.
“An applicant only becomes eligible for full scholarship if he or she has, besides clearing the qualifying examination, substantial achievements in the co-curricular activities. And, so far as the latter is concerned, I made the cut mainly because of my medals in speed skating,” said Jyoti, who, along with 31 other students from world over, has been selected under the scholarship programme.
Apart from IOWA University, she had received a similar offer from New York's Stony Brook University, but opted for the former because of its better ranking.
“The scholarship benefit implies that my father will not have to pay around Rs 15 lakh charged by the institution as its annual academic fee. The money can be used later to fund my younger brother’s education who also wants to study abroad. However, it will be imperative that I maintain good grades at the university every year otherwise I will stand the risk of losing the scholarship,” added the skater, whose father Balwinder Singh, an assistant subinspector in Haryana Police, helped her take first steps into skating.
“In 2003, my father prompted me to start skating after I received a pair of skates as a birthday gift. He would accompany me daily for practice,” recalled Jyoti, who later lear nt the nuances of the sport from Harpreet Singh and Sarabjit Singh, prior to joining Chander Singhal’s Rolling Tigers Academy in Panchkula two years ago.
A year after starting with skating, Jyoti won her first medal, a bronze, in the road race event of a local competition. Thereafter, more medals kept coming her way, at both state and national championships. Today, she has more than 20 medals from different state speed skating meets. In national level tournaments, she has won one gold, one bronze and two silver medals; she has also won a bronze in the roller hockey event of the 2004 Nationals.
“Skating has been a big part of my life because, besides giving me medals and recognition, it triggered my competitive instinct that also helped me in my studies. Now, this sport has again assisted me by helping to avail the scholarship,” pointed out Jyoti.
So, would she continue the sport abroad? “I have lear nt that there are clubs associated with the university that engage students in various co-curricular activities. Skating may be one of them. Anyway, I will take my skates along so to enjoy skating as and when I get time,” replied Jyoti.