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Aldrin Mathew and Anup Kumar Yama strike a pose behind the scenes at Makomanai on Friday.
Bollywood on ice comes to Sapporo 2017

24 Feb 2017
Sapporo, Japan, February 24, 2017: The beaming smiles of India’s Aldrin Mathew and Anup Kumar Yama told their own story at the Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink on Friday, rather than the results of the Ice Dance competition.

Although they were a distant last of the seven teams with 31.28 points – gold medal-winners Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu of China scored 164.28 – they felt on top of the world with their Indian-flavoured free dance which ended with an imaginary pistol duel.

“It was wonderful,” said Aldrin. “Incredible,” added Anup.

They described their performance as an Indian Romeo and Juliet with a touch of Bollywood, and the spectators joined in the fun by clapping along to the music and giving them a generous round of applause at the end. It was colourful, it was exotic, it was full of fun…and full of India.

What’s more, the couple had been training together for only eight days, preparing for Sapporo 2017 with a camp in Indonesia. The rink in New Delhi is one-eighth the size of a standard rink, according to Anup, who is the senior partner at 32 years old to Aldrin’s 20.

They are both from Hyderabad, and Anup is better known as a much-decorated artistic roller skater at regional, national, Asian and world level. His vast medal haul includes two bronze medals at the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010. At the Asian Winter Games, though, he is very much on the learning curve again, alongside the experts from China, Japan and Korea.

“It has been wonderful and we have learned a lot of new things,” said Anup. “We came here to learn how to train on the ice and off the ice. “Overall the experience has been beautiful and very memorable. We will cherish this in our life.” Now they plan to stay together in Ice Dance and hope to attract youngsters to the sport.

“The Ice Dance is something new – no one has ever done this in India,” says Anup. “We have a few national champions lined up and we want to go there and teach children. We want to ask the government to provide an ice rink for all the skaters.”

The couple took pride in showing off their homeland to the audience, through the choreography, music and costumes, which were made especially for the Asian Winter Games. The music was the "Ram-Leela" Medley from the Indian crime movie adapted from Romeo and Juliet. The medley was written by Aditi Paol, Shail Hada and Adiya Narayan.
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