15-year-old Prodigy Niranjan Rajeev bringing Glory to India & Kudla in Ice Skating Sport
Mangaluru: He’s the FIRST and ONLY Indian to qualify for the World Junior Ice Skating Championship this season; He is the young lad from Mangaluru at such a young age to enter into Ice Skating sport; He is the young boy who moved up from the basic 4-wheel roller skates to Quads and then inline, and also started winning medals at various school, zone and state-level championships; He is the young hero who represented India in International Ice Skating Championships held in Turkey, Belarus, Philippines (winning 4 Gold medals in 2018), and Thailand.
Yes, he is none other than 15 year-old prodigy Niranjan Rajeev, a XI standard student at Lourdes Central School, Mangaluru, and son of Rajeev Gopal Krishnan-the Managing Director of Callystro Infotech Pvt Ltd, and Ms Nisha Panicker -Director at Callystro, having a younger sister, Rudra Rajeev ( 8) studying in 3rd Standard at Lourdes Central School, who is a Chess Champ. Originally from Cochin, Niranjan’s parents moved to Mangaluru two decades ago, after which his dad got employed at Infosys in 2012, before starting his own IT firm.
It was when Niranjan was seven years old that he was introduced to roller-skating at the Lourdes Central School, Mangaluru, and what began as an extracurricular activity soon grew into a passion. Seeing that the boy had it in him to scale greater heights, Rajeev got trained in roller skating under Mahesh Kumar, a professional trainer at Mangalore Roller Skating Club, near Kadri Park, Mangaluru. It was here that Niranjan reached greater heights in the roller skating sport. Within three years, as he moved up from the basic 4-wheel roller skates to Quads and then inline, he also started winning medals at various school, zone and state level championships. It was going well for him in the roller skating arena.
In the 2015 state championships, emerging out as the second-best in Karnataka, Niranjan was disappointed with his performance as he had been working hard for the top honours. It was at this time that He learnt about a 10-day ice skating camp to be held in Gulmarg (National Short Track Speed Skating (STSS) Camp), in Jammu & Kashmir. His dad also thought that this would be a good opportunity for his son, little did he know that it would be a life-changing decision. To Dad’s surprise who also followed his son to the camp, Niranjan did well in the camp and qualified for the National Ice Skating Championship (XIIth National STSS). He went on to win a bronze medal there and winning this medal in the first ice skating event that he participated, Niranjan decided to pursue ice-skating more seriously. It was indeed a joyful moment for both dad and son!
It was the head coach for Short Track Speed Skating Team India, Avadhut S Tawade who was watching Niranjan’s impressive performance at the Camp. Avadhut had moved back from England with a dream of developing an Ice-Skating Olympic champion in India. He convinced Niranjan to participate in yet another Ice skating camp in Delhi in 2016 (STSS conditioning camp for National Team). Wow- Niranjan did well there too and was selected for the Indian National Short Track Speed Skating team (Junior D, below 13 years). There was no looking back from there.
Niranjan improved his performance with every camp and competition. He was selected for the STSS training camp held at Erzurum, Turkey. At the Turkey-India Friendship Cup conducted at Palandoken Olympic ice rink, Erzurum, Turkey, he finished with a Silver medal in Men’s Relay. He won the Under-15 National Championship (XIII th Nationals STSS at Delhi) in Dec-Jan 2016-17 (Junior C Champion by winning the Gold medal in 500 mtrs). He attended a camp in Belarus and competed in Belarus Open Cup no. 1, held in Minsk Arena, Belarus, where he clocked his personal best of 51.6 secs in 500 mtrs and 1 min 47 secs in 1000 mtrs. He won second place in 1500 mtrs Finals-B and third place in the 1000 mtrs Finals-B. Apart from skating, Niranjan likes cycling, running, singing, playing chess and outdoor activities.
After this, he participated in the Under-15 National championship (XIVth Nationals) again in Dec-Jan 2017-18 and retained his national champion (Junior C) status. However, the path to his achievements and success was not an easy one. While it has always been his dream to participate in the International Ice Skating Championship, and above all also looking forward to entering into the Winter Olympics, he wishes that more support and encouragement is given to this sport by the sports authorities, at the local, state and national level. He explained that because figure skating was a rather new sport here, he did not receive much support other than his parents in order to accomplish his dream. But he made it to the top.
Niranjan said, “Since the age of seven, I’ve dedicated my life to roller skating and then to ice skating. Since my young age, I have been working hard and putting in a lot of effort to achieve my goals. Training is expensive and a serious competitive skater like me needs experienced coaches and there are no proper facilities here, like an Olympic size rink. Most of the time, I train by myself without a coach, in public rinks. In order for me to pursue my goals, I have made many sacrifices and given up many activities a normal teenager would enjoy. I can firmly say that I have done my very best to make not only my parents proud but the country and Mangaluru as well. However, to get to the Winter Olympics, which is my dream, home training is not enough. I need the guidance and expertise of experienced coaches in order to step up my game.”
Dad Rajeev Gopalkrishnan speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “I am really proud of my son of his achievement in Ice Skating at this very young age, but unfortunately there is not much support and encouragement from the government towards this sport. We need better facilities for this ice skating sport which is very much lacking. But as a dad, I will do whatever I can to encourage and support my son, in his journey to reach the topmost in ice skating championship. I have been his inspiration and guiding force all these years, and will continue in the future too”.
Our young spinning hero Niranjan is no doubt launched with a quad lutz and never relented, winning medals in the event after event. He performs a beautiful, clean free skate to reach his goal. Our local schoolboy after his achievements in national and international roller-skating/ice skating championship wins is now caught up in a dizzying whirl of publicity, with his profile currently going up that he is often spotted on in the school campus and off-campus. But this young skater still has bigger fish to fry. Now that he has won many medals at national and international levels, and awaiting his dream to enter the Winter Olympics, he needs to train even harder. You Go Boy!
Team Mangalorean congratulates Niranjan Rajeev for all his Ice Skating accomplishments, and wish him all success in the future Ice Skating Championships.