Six-year-old K Darshini is all smiles and wonder as she speaks to hordes of people congratulating her. On March 13, she set a new national benchmark for speed skating in the Under 7 category of the Quarter Skating Marathon. This indomitable little girl finished 10.5 kilometres in 41.03 minutes, a no-mean feat which managed to get her into the India Book of Records and the Asia Book of Records. The criteria for the record was that the participant should be seven years of age or below, and must complete the distance of 10.5 kilometres under 45 minutes.
Manmohan Rawat, Managing Editor of the India Book of Records, flagged her off at the Marathon. As she set off, her eyes on the road ahead and nowhere else, she was cheered all along by relatives and friends.
A craze that began when she was just five, her parents encouraged her by arranging a coach, Thangadurai, to train her.
Studying at the Yuvabharti Public School, the six-year-old has rolled her way from district and state tournaments to the national levels. Her accolades include a bronze medal in the 500-m Tamil Nadu State Roller Skating Championship in 2015, and two gold medals in state-level championships.
After her performance at a national-level event held in Goa last month, organised by the Tamil Nadu Speed Skating Association (TNSSA), she was selected to take part in an international event to be held in Singapore next month.
In December 2015, a seven-year-old boy from Manipur made news for breaking the world record for limbo skating. Tiluck Keisam finished 116 metres at the Siri Fort Stadium in New Delhi, breaking the previous world record of 50 metres. In limbo skating, the participant rolls under objects such as poles or bars without touching it. A student of the Bluebells School International, Delhi, he has about 42 medals since he began skating in 2013.