Arun Sathianarayanan is no ordinary mechanical engineering student. He is India’s number 1, Asia’s number 2 and 11th in the world in artistic roller skating – and he’s only 20. Exhilaration and hard work, commitment and overcoming disappointments… Arun has grown and learned to excel through this beautiful sport.
Arun grew up in Chennai, living with his businessman father. His mother, a research scientist, lived in the US. Arun fell into skating quite by accident. On a visit to his mother, he saw ice skaters and his heart leapt. A connection was made and a yearning began. Back in Chennai, he started skating at the Marina Beach skating rink at the grand old age of 7. He participated in a few local competitions, in which he won medals. His father was convinced, and began to take more than a passing interest in his son’s new hobby. Arun won his first national medal just three years later.
Since then, Arun has become a force to reckon with in the Artistic Skating – Solo Dance category – jumping, spinning and dancing his way through over 13 national championships, 3 Asian championships and 3 World Championships so far.
When Arun joined SSN College of Engineering, he found tremendous support from management, faculty and students who are obviously very proud of his accomplishments. He is allowed time off to practice and to participate in competitions. His friends and classmates help him with notes and revisions whenever he misses classes. He says, “After I joined SSN, my life changed completely. It made me feel really comfortable and safe and gave me psychological support, all of which has helped a lot with balancing between skating and studies. The President of SSN institutions, the Principal, the Physical Director of the Sports Department, and of course my friends, are the ones who have been a major part of my success. My major achievements happened after I joined SSN.”
Life has not been a bed of roses for this young man; yet it has been a journey of crucial lessons. He has had to contend with the politics within the sport, the substantial expense, and of course all the sacrifices one has to make to achieve greater heights. But he has remained strong and resolute. Arun recalls, ‘In 2014, I lost at the Asian Championships, which everyone was sure I would win. I was really depressed and devastated. It made me realise that life often knocks you down, even if you don’t deserve it. But then the only thing you need to do to get back on top is to not give up – and work for it.’ This unflagging attitude has been inculcated in Arun at SSN, and the education here has transformed a good sportsman into a high achiever in every part of his life.
Arun plans to do an MBA after graduating from SSN. He also hopes to coach children in Chennai one day. But most of all he wants roller-skating to become an Olympic sport so he can represent India in that great arena.
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