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Figure skaters do Delhi proud

other Updated: Feb 22, 2008 22:35 IST
Anupma Tripathi
Anupma Tripathi
Hindustan Times
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ON A day that marked the closing of the fifth National Winter Games, Delhi had a reason to smile as its athletes mounted the podium to receive their medals.

Vasudev won gold in men's figure skating, his pupil, Yash Pal Pruthi, came third in the same category while Simrita Sahney won gold among women in the same category.

For Vasudev, who has spent his life skiing and teaching, it was a moment of pride. "I am very happy to have won here and want to go further."

Having represented India in the 2004 Asian Winter Games, the gold medallist in the second Winter Games at Shimla was raring to go despite scarcity of funds. "The govt doesn't back me, but that's okay. I'll continue on my own."

On being asked about his plans, the worker in a private ski club said, "I always wanted to participate in the Olympics but I have exceeded the age limit. But I am looking forward to the World Championship."

Pruthi, a student of Vasudev, won bronze in the same category. Hailing from a lower middle class family, he left studies midway. The son of a food stall owner borrowed the skateboard from one of his friends to take part in the Games.

"It (skateboard) costs around Rs 30.000 and is way too expensive for me. But that could not stop me from following my passion."

Asked if he was planning to pursue his first love as a profession, the 20-year-old nodded in agreement.

Simrita, a second year student of Political Science at Jesus and Mary College, took to skating at the tender age of 11. Winning gold here is the latest feat to her list that also includes a gold in a figure skating championship at Shimla last year.

Asked about her plans, the excited teenager, who represented India in the 2004 Roller Hockey Championship in Germany. said, "I am preparing for the Olympics and other championships that are lined up this current year.