Days after Hindustan Times published a story highlighting the lack of proper facilities for skaters, the campaign has gone online. Young skaters and their parents have started a Facebook page to demand a rink that is open to all residents.
"We launched the page a day after the story was published. Over 140 people have already joined," said Rakhi Bhambani, mother of 10-year-old Sia Bhambani who has bagged gold medals at CBSE, SGFI and Roller Skating Federation of India (RSFI) tourneys.
The Bhambanis are among several parents who are lobbying online for an open rink so that their children can have unhindered access to competition-level facilities. Also on board, of course, are the children themselves.
There's Tishya Aggarwal, a CBSE west zone finalist and, of course, Haaril Dubey, who stood fourth in the all-India CBSE competition (under-19).
"There are so many kids from Indore who have reached the national level. So, why don't they pursue skating? It's because there are no proper facilities," said Rakhi, who works as a designer.
In the absence of a proper staking rink, young skaters, even those who have reached the very top level, are forced to practice on the roads or on basketball courts.
The skaters' parents say they are in touch with principals and directors of various schools for a rink that would be open to all.
"When the story appeared in HT, it gave our demand a momentum. The internet is a powerful medium and it will help to propel it further," said Rakhi. "We're confident that our efforts will bear fruit," adds her husband.
Rahul Ghire, who coaches around 45-50 youngsters in the niceties of skating, says Sia and others used to practice at on basketball courts a private school. But practice has been stopped for the last 15 days because of some work," said Rahul Ghire, the young skater's coach.