Shruti Kotwal, India’s fastest ice skater, discusses her astonishing adventure from swiveling around the streets on skateboards or roller skates to setting a national record.
Her path began with a passion for roller skating at the age of seven. She was a national level gold medalist in roller skating for several years before deciding to try ice skating due to fewer opportunities in roller skating. She began in Shimla, within a small ice rink that conducts a national camp and national tournaments each year. “It was a new sport, and the fact that it is Olympic and worldwide recognised drew me in even more.” She said.
She gradually became attracted by the explosivity and agility required for sprinters, as well as the strength and endurance required for speed skating. Ice Speed Skating is an ice drag race. It originated in the Netherlands and was shown as a men’s event in the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Women’s speed skating was first included at the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley, California.
She had to relearn the tricks and change her practices to accommodate the new sport. She used to roller skate in Pune, her hometown, before receiving a scholarship from the International Skating Union (ISU) in 2012.
Her career high point came in 2011 when she won gold medals in the 500m, 1000m, and 1500m in the South Asia Championship. At the 500 meters speed skating event at Caglary, she managed to save one-hundredth of a second off her personal national record. Several additional accomplishments include 5 gold medals in the National Ice-Skating Championships in Shimla, a bronze medal at the National Winter Games in Gulmarg, and participation in the Asian Winter Games in Japan in 2017.
Shruti Kotwal’s thrilling trek through the winds of opponents is inspiring. The Tribal Box wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
- Chaithra BS