Vastavam web: When Vishwaraj Jadeja’s Olympic dream was halted by injury, little did India’s fastest long-distance ice speed skater know that an ‘unofficial’ world record was waiting for him. The 33-year-old skater from Ahmedabad dreams of becoming the first Indian ice skater to qualify for the Winter Olympics. To turn his dream into reality Vishwaraj moved to train in the Netherlands where long track ice skating enjoys the same position that cricket holds in India.
But tragedy struck while Vishwaraj was training for making the cut at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. He suffered a back injury which made it difficult for him to even walk, crushing all hopes for qualification. With injury came an idea. An idea that would give shape to a passion project. One that put India on the world map. While recovering from his injury Vishwaraj, who has 13 national records, hatched a plan to explore some of the highest frozen lakes in the world — which happen to be in India — and skate on them.
In January this year he undertook the challenge of ice skating at Lake Tso Moriri in Ladakh, located at an altitude of 4,522 meters. By doing so he created an unofficial world record for the highest 5km distance speed skating. “It was a friend’s suggestion. Due to my injury, I had a lot of spare time. I did my research and found out that no one has recorded skating at above 4000 meters altitude and several Indian lakes are located higher than that,” Vishwaraj told.