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Indian girls skate to success

Craze for skateboarding is helping to empower girls and the poor

More Indian girls are taking up skateboarding as the sport grows in popularity across the country. (From the Girl Skate India Facebook page)

NEW DELHI -- Asha Gond, 22, fondly remembers the first time she skateboarded, six years ago in her home village of Janwaar, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. "I felt so free and liberated cruising down the streets on my board, the wind ripping through my hair. It was the best feeling ever!" says Gond, who took to the sport despite stiff parental resistance, rising to represent India in international championships.

"Upper- and lower-class kids in our village weren't allowed to play and mingle with each other earlier. Girls especially were discouraged from playing any sport. But the skateboarding culture has changed all this by disrupting caste and gender stereotypes," Gond adds.

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