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Manipur 17-year-old Ranju has to do whitewash job to keep his skateboarding dreams alive
His mother is running a roadside food shop in Imphal, father is working as a daily wager and 17-year-old Ranju Chingangbam has to do a whitewash job to keep his skateboarding dreams alive.
A national-level medalist in street skateboarding, Ranju is a hope for a small skating community in Manipur to dream big.
He is part of a two-member skating continent from the North Eastern state, competing in the National Games 2022.
“For my family, making the ends meet is a challenge on a daily bases. So, it wouldn’t be fair on my part to ask money from my parents to fund my skateboarding. Therefore to meet the expense of the equipment and to earn some pocket money, I do whitewash jobs quite often,” says Ranju, who is competing in the street event in Ahmedabad.
It was in 2018 when Ranju got fascinated towards skateboarding. But because of the financial constraints, he had a wait for a year to buy his own equipment.
“It was by chance I visited the sports complex with my friend and there I saw some local kids skateboarding. The style and tricks fascinated me, but as the equipment costs around Rs 10-12,000, so I had to save money for around a year to buy my own skateboard,” says Ranju. “As I need money to repair or buy a new part of the skateboard, so I started doing a whitewash job two years ago. It helps me earn Rs 350-400 per day.”
Skateboarding has become a part of urban culture and after watching Ranju doing tricks, many kids are picking up the sport in Manipur.
“It’s relatively a new sport, but if I am able to make a mark at national-level, definitely it would gain a prominence in my state,” says Ranju. “Learning a new trick on a skateboard is not easy, at times I get injured. But it’s the love for skateboarding that keeps me going despite the odds.”