Hyderabad: City-based siblings Akanksha and Sanchit Yenduru are skating their way to global acclaim, with one of them making the country proud by winning the Oceania Artistic Skating Championship and Pacific Cup.
The Akanksha, 17, and 13-year-old Sanchit were drawn to skating five years back after coming to the city from Visakhapatnam and having a feel of the sport at a rink. "When we saw skaters performing mind-blowing stunts, particularly the axel jump, I knew I wanted to ace this," said Sanchit, who was nine at the time.
He and Akansha began with artistic skateboarding and there has been no looking back, as they say.
"This sport is different from others in that it's an amalgamation of several others — one needs the flexibility of a gymnast, the speed of a sprinter and the agility of a badminton player," Akanksha explained.
Their day starts at 4.30 am with athletic training at LB Stadium followed by school at 8.45 am. "They have their breakfast in the car, on their way to school. They've balanced studies and sports and I think that's what helps them get better at everything," said their mother Madhuri Yenduru. After school, they finish their assignments and get back to training on the rink or the badminton court.
When they tell people what they do, they're often met with a 'wow' or 'tell me more', but playing a lesser known sport comes with its own set of challenges.
"Not many know or look at skating as a serious sport. And those who do can only think of speed-skating as they remain oblivious of artistic skating. Sponsorship is hard to come by as most prefer to promote cricketers and shuttlers. Worse, we don't have enough rinks and training facilities in the city," Madhuri told DC.
They train under Amar Nag Yama, Anup Kumar Yama, Brijkishore, Satish Reddy, Rajesh, Murali, Vikranth and Ashraf in various capacities like fitness, badminton and skating.
"I hope our latest win serves as an inspiration to many more to take up this exciting sport," said Sanchit-Akanksha, who will don the India colours at next month’s 19th Asian Games in China's Hangzhou, and possibly hope for a podium finish.