Mamallapuram’s skateboarder Kamali clinches silver at the Nationals

The star skater has won silver at the 59th National Roller Skating Championship held in Mohali recently

“I was frozen,” laughs P Kamali, recalling the moment she stood on the podium, waiting to receive her silver medal. The 12-year-old from the seaside town of Mamallapuram won the medal at the 59th National Roller Skating Championship held in Mohali, Punjab, from December 11 to 22.

“The ceremony took place at 9pm and it was extremely cold,” she says, adding that on top of that, she felt shivers run through her body owing to the weight of the moment. “I was really happy that day,” says Kamali.

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Kamali is among Mamallapuram’s star skaters. She started skateboarding when she was five years old. “She did not have professional training; her training came from observing fellow skaters and travellers from abroad who visited our village,” says P Suganthi, Kamali’s mother. When her daughter was selected for the Nationals, Suganthi decided to take her to the championship herself.

“This is the first time we travelled this far together,” says the 36-year-old. “The weather was a shocker for us, so was the food,” she adds, laughing: “We had chapatis three times a day, that too with curd and butter. It was quite different for us since we are used to rice and meen kozhambu.” Suganthi and Kamali reached the venue four days ahead of the event. “This was so that she can practise on the ramp there. She does not have a good one to skate on at Mamallapuram,” explains Suganthi.

Kamali says she did not expect to win. “I participated to simply try my hand at the Nationals. It was a chance for me to train on good ramps,” she says. The success in Mohali has earned her a place at the Asian Roller Sports Championships. “She is the only girl from Tamil Nadu among four others who got selected,” says Suganthi.

Suganthi’s life is not free of hardship. “In my younger years, I was not able to do anything I wanted. Which is why I want my daughter to achieve her dreams. I will take her wherever she wishes to go; be her rock-solid support,” she says. “In fact, we went to Mohali to understand what it takes to be part of such a big sporting event. It was our first lesson, one that will hopefully teach us how to strike gold the next time.”

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