Taking wheeled flight into the Limca Book of Records, local girl Mehak Gupta (11) has entered its fastest-inline-skating category.
On April 3, 2011, at the age of 7, she skated 29 kilometres from Company Bagh here to the Pakistan border at Attari in just 80 minutes of the allotted 200. The child wonder started rolling when she was just six months over 2, and by the age of 10, had won more than 100 medals, including the national gold.
A champion at the district and state levels, she earned the gold and silver medals in the 9th and 11th national roller skating championship in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She also received National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement from the President in 2012.
“During my feat for the Limca Book of Records, I didn’t take any break, becoming the fastest Indian child skater of 2014. In 2013, in the India Book of Record Breakers festival, I made another record by touching my elbow with my tongue 140 times in a minute,” said the amazing performer.
She has also received a state award and been honoured by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Amritsar Roller Skating Club general secretary Harkanwal Singh is her coach and Gurpreet and Amritpal Singh are her guides. “At 11, I have a state award (2011), a national award (2012), an India Book of Records (2011) feat, and now the Limca Book of Records achievement. It wasn’t possible without the support of my mother, who takes me to the competitions, and my brother Chirag (13), skating champion and my inspiration,” said Mehak.
Her school, DAV International, Amritsar, has given her fee concession, but her mother, Anju, a former record holder in cycling, rues that the state government had claimed in writing that skating was not a valued sport in Punjab. She has met the deputy chief minister over the issue.
“Skating is an expensive sport for an athlete from the middle class. Mehak’s skates alone cost Rs 40,000 and then her diet and equipment also have to be good. Skaters in some other states get all the support,” said Anju.
There’s a cost to being a champion. Mehak is at roadand rink-skating practice every morning and evening, yet she had an academic score of 98.4% in Class 5. She aspires to be a pilot, to fulfil what was her mother’s dream. She has worked hard to maintain her 300-metre timing of 35 seconds on the bent track and 39 to 40 seconds on Kota stone. To be a champion, she had to change her lifestyle. “I stay away from junk food and stick to a healthy protein diet,” said Mehak.