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Skating on a dream

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM
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Skating Abbas Iqbal Lasania, the chief coach of the Indian speed skating team, hopes to produce a world medallist from the city

He first won several accolades when he became the first-ever national champion from Andhra Pradesh in the senior men’s category in skating. Abbas Iqbal Lasania has another feather to his cap now having been appointed as the chief coach of the Indian speed skating team. This could well be another challenge for the 33-year-old in a career dotted with unbridled zeal to promote young talent over the years.

Having lived close to the Indira Park rink, it was but natural for him to develop a passion for the sport. Lasania, who by his own confession was a late starter in the sport at the age of 13, is delighted at the opportunity of guiding the destiny of the national team.

As someone who took part twice in the World championship, Lasania should know the demands of a champion skater when he trains the Indian team for the World inline speed championship to be held in Belgium this August.

“This is a very happy occasion for me. After more than 20 years in this sport, it is an honour for me to be bestowed with the job of coaching the Indian speed skating team,” says Lasania, a product of St. Patrick’s High School, Secunderabad. Lasania is aware of the huge responsibility and expectations that come with the job. “But, I am ready for the challenges,” he says. “I hope to juggle my assignments as a coach , with the travelling and training the members of Team Lasania in Hyderabad as well,” he added.

Like any committed coach, Lasania is now dreaming of producing a world championship medallist from the city. “When in 2001 I went for my first World Championship in France as Andhra’s first International speed skater, I realised it would take long for an Indian to stand on the victory stand. After careful calculations, I concluded then that if all goes well, it would take 10 years,” he says, adding “And, by 2011 an Indian would win a medal in the World Inline Speed Skating Championship. More than 10 years since then, we’re still happy just participating, but haven’t won anything yet.” He explains the reasons: “Everyone’s doing their bit, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Perhaps, it is time to change the script.” Interestingly, two skaters from Lasania’s own team – Shraddha Reddy and Abdul Zaheer Khan – will be taking part in the forthcoming World championship. He is clearly looking to make an impact in the biggest skating event.

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

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