Ahmedabad: Gliding past challenges, govt-run schoolchildren take to skating

NO LIMITS: With the help of donated skates, 146 of the 220 students of Ropda village take up an expensive sport

Latest News
Ahmedabad: Gliding past challenges, govt-run schoolchildren take to skating
The school now has total of 24 skates which is shared by 146 students


When we talk of sports in India the first thought that comes to our mind is cricket. But here is a government-run school in Ropda village of Daskroi Taluka in Ahmedabad city has let you wondering why India doesn't focus more on various sports.

The sheer determination of the principal to ensure that every child learns a sport has made the students coming from financially weaker background get hooked to an expensive sport like skating.

The school Ropada Primary School proudly boasts of 146 skaters who are working hard to compete at district and inter-school level competitions. The school teaches the sport for free, as children come from a humble background.

In the year 2015, the school of principal Nishith Acharya put up a poster of various sports across the campus for students to know the various sports that exist around the world.

"I am of the belief that sport develops and builds the character of the student, which cannot be thought in the classroom. So when I put up the poster, I was waiting for a curious bug to inquire about some sport. And as planned, a Class 6 student Ankush Thakor asked me about 'paida vadi boot' (shoes with wheels). I corrected him that it is skates, and it was a sport," recalls Principal Acharya.

When the skating training began the school had just three skates, two of which were provided by the coach and the third was gifted to a student by his relative.

Ankush was interested in the sport and he wanted his father to buy him a skate. His father went to the principal inquiring about the skates, as it was new to him as well. The principal told Ankush and his father that to have personal skates, he will first have to learn the sport professionally and earn it.

The principal then contacted his son's skating coach Pravin Thakkar. "My son was learning skating but I knew most of my students could not afford taking up the sport. The skates alone cost over Rs700 which was a steep price for most of my students. So I requested the coach if he could just visit my school and tell them a little about it," said Acharya.

He said that is how the school began to teach his students about skating. "We had a tiled area where we practiced because at that point in time that was the only rink available to us," he said.

Initially, just three students enrolled for skating and since they picked up the sport in no time, the school in 2016 went ahead and organised a competition for children to create a world record for continuously skating for two hours.

Since the school did not have a personal rink they used a newly constructed road in the village for the competition; the competition saw 53 students participating from Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Taking these baby steps which has resulted in good fruits, the school now has 24 skates, after some participants seeing the enthusiasm of the school students decided to gift 20 skates to the school. Another parent also donated skates, taking the tally to 24. Of the 220 students in the school around 146 have enrolled for skating.

He said it is indeed unusual for a government school made up of poor children to take to an expensive sport. "But the kids love it. We are perhaps are the only government school to offer this sport. Usually, these are restricted to upmarket schools but we believe that if you truly wish to learn something, you will find a way as my students did," he said.

Find your daily dose of news & explainers in your WhatsApp. Stay updated, Stay informed-  Follow DNA on WhatsApp.

Live tv