Saraswathy Srinivasan

Started in 1994, it cries for attention

CHENNAI: Surrounded by the golden sands of Elliots Beach and rubbing shoulders with Annai Velankanni Church, this skating rink should have been the pride of Besant Nagar. But it is not, thanks to years of neglect by the Chennai Corporation.

The rink, the first to be set up in Tamil Nadu and the biggest, does not have any amenities except for a weather-beaten track.

Started in 1994 with much fanfare, it has been the training ground for many State champions and is even now popular among children - from two-year-olds to teenagers.

Variety of patrons

Other than skating enthusiasts, other patrons include a medical practitioner who brings his patients - special children - for movement therapy.

According to John Miller, who runs a clinic in Nungambakkam, movement therapy is good for the children as exercise reduces restlessness.

"It is equal to swimming as the muscles and nerves are activated. As they train with normal kids, the social interaction and ... help the special children," says Dr. Miller who brings his patients on four days of the week. Some parents bring their special children from other parts of the city such as Chetpet, Nungambakkam and Tambaram to be trained by him. The rink is used by 12 special children in addition to 50 normal kids every day.