Champion in the making

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RARING TO GO: K. Stephen Paul during a practice session
RARING TO GO: K. Stephen Paul during a practice session

V.V. Subrahmanyam

City boy to compete in 2010 winter Olympics City boy to compete in 2010 winter Olympics

Stephen Paul won a silver medal in the National under-19 categoryWill represent country at Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok and in Belgium international He is being coached by Abbas Lasania who took part in World Championship twice

HYDERABAD: A medal contender in the 2010 Winter Olympics from a city school! Well, it may sound incredible but if the feats of K. Stephen Paul, an eighth standard student of Vikas Concept School, are any indication, then it may be a realistic target.

No doubt, he hails from a city which doesn't even boast of an ice-skating rink but this enthusiastic youngster, a silver medallist in the National under-19 category, has now been selected to represent India in the Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok next month and in the Belgium international event this September.

Under watchful eyes

His coach Abbas Lasania, himself a twice World Championship participant, is confident that his talented and dedicated ward will make it big at the highest level. Their daily practice sessions are at the Sanjivaiah Park Rink. The fact that this unassuming youngster finished second with just one second separating the gold medallist in the Nationals after just 10 days of training shows that he has the talent.

Fortunately, funds are not a problem for his father David Raju, was instrumental in bringing the former world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield to the city. He is optimistic that some of his well-wishers and corporate groups will chip when Stephen really needs it.

Significantly, Stephen doesn't feel any big difference in ice skating and roller-skating. The fundamentals are the same with the former being more slippery, he points out.

Bright future

Well, this talented youngster, already the first from the city ever to win a medal in the National ice-skating championship, is keen to script more famous chapters in the world of sport. Not surprisingly, he dreams of standing on the Olympics medal podium.



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