by Alfie D'Souza, Team Mangalorean
Mangalore: If you want to witness some action, speed and a daring sport, then head on near Kadri Park early in the morning where the students of Mangalore Roller Skating Club are gearing up for the forthcoming National and State Level Roller Skating Championships. I really admire these kids and teens getting up so early in the morning, and swinging into some skating action, while most of us are still in bed ! The Roller Skating practice starts at 6am and ends by 7am, on the road adjacent to the Kadri Park, where the skaters are seen with full of energy, enthusiasm and in utmost sportsmanship spirit. And the person behind the motivation and training, and one who has imbibed the spirit of this sport into these kids and teens, is none other than Roller Skating " Guru" Mahesh Kumar of Mangalore. And for the fact, he is one of the referee for the Roller Skating Federation of India.
While I was on my daily morning walking spree at the Kadri Park, I met Coach Mahesh Kumar, who at that moment was at his high-pitch voice disciplining and training his students. Kumar was kind enough to spend some of his precious time with me, in giving me some details about him, his skating club and their activities. Kumar after his college at Government College, Mangalore, he joined the Garden Skating Club, Bangalore in 1982. In 1990, he returned back to Mangalore, and in the year 1991started Skating classes at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Indoor Hall. He had also taken part in the " Save Cauvery" Rally where he had skated 365kms all the way from Bangalore to Madikeri. He had also represented India in the Special Olympics World Games 2003 held in Dublin, Ireland, and had won 14 Gold Medals for India. Under his leadership, at the Roller Skating Championship held in China, the District had won Silver medals, and at the Special kids World Roller Skating event held in Greece 2011, the Mangalore skaters had won 6 gold medals.
Mahesh Kumar had also coached the Indian Roller Skating team for the Greece World Games Special Olympics held at Athens, Greece. Kumar has also represented Karnataka State in All India Skating Championship. Since 2002, he has been training the mentally challenged children free of cost. His main intention was to open a skating rink in the city, so in the year 1996 he met the then DC, Bharath Lal Meena and asked if the district can build a skating facility. The DC was kind enough to offer Kumar a piece of property, but building the rink was his responsibility - with funds raised Kumar's dream was accomplished - a skating rink was built near the basket ball court at Mangala stadium. Kumar is also training students at the government skating rink near Kadri Park. Kumar is overwhelmed and proud to note that his students have brought lots of laurels and medals for the district, State and India by winning championships at National and International levels.
Coach Mahesh Kumar seen with his daughter Sharanya
Kumar says that skating is an expensive sport, because the skates cost around Rs 50,000 to a lakh depending on the quality, make and model -You can also get cheaper ones costing around Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000, but they don't last long, and also they are not comfortable and safe. He says skating is also a risky and a dangerous sport, because when you are skating at a speed between 60 to 75kms/hr, and if something goes wrong and you tumble on the floor/road, chances are you may get severely injured or even critical. But proper training and following safety guidelines you can avoid all these accidents.
Mahesh Kumar is also proud of his daughter Sharanya Mahesh, 21 years of age, who has won two bronze medals at the 14-Asian Roller Skating Championships held at Taipei, China in 2010. She has also taken part in the World Skating Championship held in China, 2005. While his present students are all practicing hard and are getting ready to take part in the forthcoming State and National Skating Championships, Kumar's only wish is to see that they bring laurels to the district, thereby bringing name and fame to Mangalore, and off course to himself !
Roller skating’s popularity is on the rise in the city, state and India these days - one major contributing factor is increased media exposure stating that skating is fun, hip, dare and glamorous. Roller skating does have a “dirty little secret” that nobody likes to acknowledge. Roller skating is great exercise! Roller skating is ranked among the best aerobic exercises according to the American Heart Association and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Roller skating is a workout that involves almost all of the body’s muscles and in particular the heart.
The roller skating works most of the major muscle groups – glutes, quads (no pun intended), abdomen, calves and arms. The AHA proclaims that roller skating is equivalent to bicycling and jogging as a cardio workout. It’s easy to burn an hour roller skating, whether you are at a rink or skating outdoors. Let’s look at what you got out of that hour of fun from an exercise perspective. First, you had a low-impact workout. Roller skating causes 50% less impact on your joints than running. In other words, an aerobic roller skating workout has the same benefit as the same amount of time spent jogging without the joint damage. Second, an average 143 lb. person skating at 10 mph can experience caloric burn of as much as 600 calories in an hour roller skating. Most people average in the 6 mph range and will burn an average of 350 calories or greater.
Key benefits of roller skating:
- Low-impact exercise for joints
- High caloric burn
- Aerobically as good as jogging or cycling
- Involves all the major muscle groups
- Mentally uplifting
- Fun, hip and possibly glamorous
I hope that the information in this article has encouraged you to look at roller skating in a whole new way. Roller skating isn’t just for “teens and tweens,” and roller rinks aren’t just a day care for them. Forget about the shag carpet walls, unbearable pop music and making out in the corner. Most roller rinks in the state and country have moved well beyond that to become family oriented entertainment complexes. They are lighter, faster, more comfortable and it’s now more affordable to own a personal pair. So, consider all the benefits of roller skating and hit your local rink for a few laps of “good-for-you fun”.
And as a parent who maybe interested in sending your child to learn roller skating, or maybe yourself who wants to try this new daring sport at your present age, then give a call to Mahesh Kumar at : 9448088773 or email him at : firstname.lastname@example.org, for more details.