Mysuru-based Dr Varsha Puranik started skating at the age of three and ice-skating at 18. Within no time, she set a record in speed inline skating and ice skating.
Despite her demanding job as a consultant with Cauvery Institute of Health Science, Puranik rigorously trains seven hours a day.
The 30-year-old will soon represent India for the third time at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, between August 18 to September 2.
According to an New Indian Express report, Puranik is the only woman from Mysuru to have been selected for the Asian Games.
Speaking to the City Express, the skater said, “I will be facing athletes from eight different countries, and will be fighting it out for our country with the top 16 athletes, of which four are world champions. It’s going to be tough, but I will be tougher.”
She reveals how her mother enrolled her for skating classes when she was three. She also became the youngest athlete to represent Karnataka at the National Roller Skating Championship within one year of training.
“I feel proud representing Karnataka, and want to win a gold,” she added.
The selection for the Asian games was anything but easy. It was a result of several hours over two years of hard work and perseverance.
“I started training two years ago. Training for the Asian Games is quite different from other competitions because this event comes once in four years and there is no room for mistakes. I will try my best. I want to be the first female from Karnataka to carry the tricolour flag fly in the podium.”
She has trained for the Games under K Srikantha Rao at Rao’s Roller Skating Academy. The sport of roller skating was introduced at the Summer Asian Games in China in 2010. It was at the time that Varsha first participated in it and ranked seventh.
But in 2014, it was removed from the list. It was reintroduced this year.
Till date, Varsha has already represented India at Asian Championships in 2001, 2004, 2012, 2014 and 2016. She will also represent India at the Asian Roller Skating Championship in South Korea between September 4 to 14.
Awarded the prestigious Ekalavya Award in 2013 by the Government of Karnataka, Puranik has won over 52 gold medals.
The skating champion has represented India at three world championships, five Asian Championships, two Asian Games (Summer and Winter), one World Games and Skating Championship in Venezuela in 2003.
Uptil 2017, Varsha represented Karnataka at 21 national championships. She won over 44 gold medals, 17 silver medals and six bronze medals at the national championships (Speed Skating) organised by the Roller Skating Federation of India (RSFI).
Her other achievements include four golds and one bronze representing Karnataka at four national ice skating championships. She also ranked 13th for ice skating at the eighth Asian Winter Games in Japan.
We wish her the best at the upcoming Asian Games and successive championships.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)