A roller skating rink is a calling card for Nanganallur. It draws children from far and wide, says T.S. Atul Swaminathan

At 5 p.m., scores of children hit the 100-feet road at Civil Aviation Colony, Nanganallur, accompanied by their parents. Some of them are already at the gate of the famous roller skating rink in the area, waiting for it open.

At 5.15 p.m., the gate is thrown open, and a flood of children sweeps in. Before the public skating session begins, children jog around the rink, and perform warm up exercises. And soon, the real action begins: with elbow pad, wrist guard, knee pad, and a multi-sport helmet, the kids zip around the skating rink.

Not all of the children are from Nanganallur and surrounding areas. Some come from far-flung localities, including Ullagaram-Puzhuthivakkam, Pallavaram and Velachery. Why not, this skating rink is counted among the largest in the State. Set over 12,000 sq.ft., it is 325-feet long and 30-feet wide. Its construction cost the Alandur Municipality Rs. 31 lakh.

D. Mahendran, a parent, gushes about the rink.

S. Albert has brought a differently-abled youngster, S. Sivaraj from Pallavaram, to the skating rink. This youngster is as comfortable skating as anybody else. “Around 100 children and youngsters come daily for practice,” says Albert.

A youngster has taken upon himself the task of helping on to their feet, children who fall. “Falling is a part and parcel of this sport. When I was a beginner, I had fallen on the rink and got injured numerous times. I do not want these children to get hurt. Concentration and hard work are important for this sport. More and more children are taking to the it and are participating in district and national competitions. It is a good sign,” says K. Tarun, a resident of Nanganallur.

R. Ragini, a parent, says the sport has become popular in Chennai. Children are taking to it like ducks to water. “As it is as beneficial as cycling and running and helps burn calories, the government and civic bodies should construct more rinks in the city. It also helps develop listening and social interaction skills among children,” she says.

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