Yesterday was reporting day for the 2014 Indian Team trials. Even if you didn’t know what was going on, the second you walked to the rink, the excitement would have been palpable. Over 50 national medal winning skaters were on the track, most of whom have already been part of at least one international event. Everyone on the track looked very impressive as they adjusted to the track with sprints or laps as part of a peloton.
The junior boys’ category is going to be the most competitive with 27 of the best skaters in India competing against each other for those elusive spots on the team. This year, because of the two different events taking place i.e. the World Championships in Argentina and the Asian Championships in China, there are possibly more spots open than there would be otherwise since some skaters have already said that they will only be trying out for the team going for the Asian Championships.
It may seem odd that the Asian Championships would be the first choice for skaters over the World Championships. The reason that this happens is because as Indians, we have a greater chance of winning an individual medal at the Asian Championships than we do at the World Championships. There are the more experienced skaters like Varshith Venugopal from Karnataka and Hariharan Kandhaswamy from Tamil Nadu, both of whom are back from a break and the talented newcomers like Aditya Rao from Karnataka and Ashish Soundarajan from Tamil Nadu. There has been an unexpected addition to the line-up with Sarvapreet Singh of Delhi who is a multiple time national champion attending his first trials. It’s going to be a real fight to the finish.
The junior girls’ category has diminished in size since the last trials with only 10 girls reporting. Despite small numbers, there are some very good skaters, most of whom have not attended an international event but who are raring to go. The senior women’s category is not going to provide much entertainment since there are only going to be 3 competitors. The senior men’s category is again small in number but packed with fantastic skaters. Nothing about these trials is going to be predictable and I can’t wait to see what happens!