A special girl from Ghaziabad. Elice Tirki, who bagged a silver medal for India in speed skating at the Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Austria in March, took ice-skating only two years ago. While she was a good skater even before that, learning ice skating took her hours of hard work and practice at the ice skating rink in Ambience Mall in Gurgaon.
The Special Olympics World Games are an international sporting competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities and is organised by the Special Olympics
Back home in Ghaziabad now, Tirki is jubilant and is celebrating her success with her friends at the vocational group of Anand Training Centre at Mariam Nagar in Ghaziabad. She has also made several new friends among the nearly 127 special sportspersons from different countries who participated in the winter games.
“We shared a lot and learnt about special sports. All my friends, teachers and parents back home are also happy with my achievement. They said I made them proud. We even had a party when I returned,” the 20- year-old said.
Her coach, Nishant Sharma, said Tirki was a different person five years ago. She was reserved and did not speak much. However, her abilities came to fore when he saw her skating and thought about teaching her ice-skating. Speed skating is a competitive form of ice skating in which the competitors race each other on skates in an ice rink.
“I was into roller skating since 2012 and was introduced to ice skating for the first time in Gurgaon. I was apprehensive about the speed, but got a grasp of it in one to two days. Now it is fun and I enjoy it,” she said.
Sharma said Tirki was initially selected for a skating camp in Bareilly in 2012 and later went to Los Angeles, but she could not get a chance to perform there.
“Still, she did not lose heart. She was good at skating and we asked her if she could perform better with ice skating. She said she could and performed superbly, putting in hours of practice from day one,” he said.
“She is a changed person now. Her love for the sport and interaction with other special athletes overseas has made her more confident. She is no more the shy and reserved girl she used to be five years ago,” he added.
The DLF Foundation, under their talent nurturing program, helped hone her skills through training, equipment and arranging for her participation at the international level. For nearly two years now, Elice had been ruling the ice skating rink in Gurgaon.
“Elice made India proud at the Games. She has shown that hard work and dedication knows no distinctions. Our foundation will continue in its endeavour to empower children in various fields,” said Vinay Sahni, CEO, DLF Foundation.