“In India my skates are taken for weapons sometimes” Amazing story of Indian skater Tara Prasad who admires Tuktamysheva and wants to go on training camp with Tutberidze
Interview with Indian figure skater Tara Prasad who competed at the Four Continents Championships 2022.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 21st January 2021 by Dmitri Kuznetsov
Representatives of warm countries in winter sports are especially loved by spectators at competitions. Venezuelan skiers, Jamaican bobsledders, a Brazilian figure skater at the Universiade – such moments are even more memorable than the victories of the favorites. At the Four Continents Championships, which is currently taking place in Tallinn it was 21-year-old Indian Tara Prasad. A new story of overcoming in figure skating, which can devlop into participation in the 2026 Olympics.
Tara was born in the USA, but she tries to live in two countries – almost all relatives, with the exception of her father, are in India. Last season, she took music from Bollywood, Prasad decorates her dresses with national ornaments and decorations, she choreographs programs for herself – because there is no money for a choreographer.
We will not see her at the Olympics because of the strict selection rules in figure skating, but this does not make her story not that bright. In an interview with SE, Prasad talked about how India takes her doing a strange sport, and called Elizaveta Tuktamysheva her idol.
Tara, admit Indian figure skater sounds unusual. How did it happen?
Tara Prasad: I was born in the USA, there I started skating and train there. It was simple – my parents took me to the rink, and it started. I liked it so I kept doing it. But my, so to speak, home city in the ISU profile is Chennai, I am an Indian citizen, my relatives live there, I also sometimes go there. But almost all the year I train in the USA.
How do Indians perceive that you are a figure skater? Are they surprised?
Tara Prasad: They like it because it’s unusual, not like everyone else. In India, there is only one small skating rink in Delhi, it is about half the size of the skating rink in Tallinn. So we don’t have much figure skating in the country (smiles). But when they hear that I’m going to some championships, they support me.
But there are other situations as well. Sometimes they think that my skates are weapons. This happened at the customs control at the airport. Blades are sharp. And they ask me: “What is this, some kind of dagger?” Because they simply have never seen skates in their lives. So every time I come to the Indian Championships, going through the airport is fun and exciting. Because I have to explain: yes, I am a figure skater!
And the Indian Championships is held on this mini-skating rink?
Tara Prasad: Yes. Several people come, in my age group there were five people – for other countries this is a small amount, but for our country this is a huge number.
And how do you jump there?
Tara Prasad: Well, you just go and do it (laughs).
I saw people from India in the stands, are these your parents?
Tara Prasad: Wow. No, only the coach is here with me. I don’t know who it is.
But your parents must have helped you a lot. How are you looking for funds? Figure skating is an expensive sport.
Tara Prasad: Yes. We have to look for sponsors. And now the Indian government is helping me as much as they can. They do their best. This is not enough to cover all the costs, but we must should appreciate what they do for me. Figure skating is not the most popular sport in India.
Yes, cricket is much more popular.
Tara Prasad: Oh yes, all the money goes only to cricket! Everyone thinks only about this sport. As for my parents, my mother worked as a doctor, but then she left her job to find a more stable and highly paid one and help me. My father in the US also helps me. In fact, all relatives work and help me.
Can’t a doctor in India make a lot of money?
Tara Prasad: You can earn, depends on the specialty. But she wanted to find a job with a more regular schedule, or something.
Is there any chance that you will go to the Beijing Olympics? Any wild card?
Tara Prasad: I really want to qualify for the 2026 Olympics, now this is my goal! But I can’t go to this Olympics, unfortunately. It was possible to qualify either through the World Championships or the Nebelhorn Trophy. I tried last year, but it didn’t work.
Who is an example for you among figure skaters, an idol?
Tara Prasad: Kim Yuna. And from the current athletes … Tuktamysheva! She’s finally going to the Olympics, right?
No, federation announced the team, unfortunately, she is in reserve.
Tara Prasad: At least this time she was very close. She has been performing for so many years. She’s 25, right? And everyone is so young. And she fights with them, tries again and again. I want to be like her (laughs).
You have good knowledge about Russian figure skating. Do you know any other coaches?
Tara Prasad: I heard about Eteri Tutberidze.
Would you like to join her at the training camp?
Tara Prasad: But I don’t know how to do it, how to get there.
Well, I can publish the news, maybe she will read it.
Tara Prasad: Oh, cool! In theory, of course, I would like to, if possible. I really appreciate everything she does. When talented, great skaters show up, we have to remember that the coach has done a good job. So I respect all the coaches, in fact, and their work.