Raj Kumar Tiwari, 23, who bagged a gold medal at the 2013 Special Winter Olympics beating several odds, will compete at the 13th National Ice Skating Championship to be held at iSkate ring in Ambience Mall on Friday.
The Ice Skating Association of India will sent the winners of the championship for international tournaments, which might include next year’s Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Raj is the son of a street vendor from Paharganj. His family relocated to New Delhi from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh in 2008 to take treatment for his hyperactivity disorder. His father Ramesh has been selling hair clips on a pavement at New Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar for the last six years.
Once, when he was serving as a volunteer at an ice skating event, one of the officials asked him to give a trial. The trial proved successful and after rigorous training, Raj was selected for the 2013 Special Winter Olympics where he bagged a gold medal in figure skating category.
Ice skating is not a sport popular in the country. Being an expensive sport, financial assistance for his training was raised with the help of several people.
In September 2016, a life insurance company sponsored Raj and send him to the US for advanced training.
“I hope the advanced training will give an edge over other competitors. I have been training rigorously for the last four months. So, chances for a place in next year’s Winter Olympics seems achievable,” Raj said.
His father has a monthly income of Rs5,000 and all his earnings are mostly spend on Raj’s practice at iSkate, which costs Rs450 per session.
“My brother works as a helper at a shop that sells earrings. My mother works as a tailor. The family accumulates the earnings to help my career. Hopefully, success at domestic and international competitions can assist me in getting more funds,” Kumar said.
Raj received a mere Rs31,000 for training from the Delhi government after he won the old at the Special Winter Olympics.
However, things took a turn in 2016 when justice Mukul Mudgal directed that his payment of Rs2 lakh for supervising IPL 2016 matches at the Delhi & District Cricket Association be handed to Raj. Mudgal learnt about his struggle through a daily newspaper.