By Phil Egginton
A Lagos-based international champion speed skater
is aiming to make a successful comeback to the sport.
Speed Skater Rolls On
By Phil Egginton
A Lagos-based international champion speed skater is aiming to make a successful comeback to the sport.
I only recently realised that Lagos is one of the best places to be for roller skating. At Escola Julio Dantes there is a purpose-built skating track, used by the local club Roller Lagos Clube De Patinagem. Roller Lagos is acknowledged to be one of the best, if not the best, roller skating club in Portugal. One of the forms is speed skating which originates from roller skating and has track, road and indoor races.
Rochford, Essex-born but now Lagos-based Martyn Dias has won medals in speed skating at both European and World levels. I asked him how he discovered speed skating? “I came to Portugal at just a few months old and did all my schooling here. I was four years old when a cousin told my parents that a skating club was running in Lagos. Mum and dad took me to there and I had my first contact with skates. My parents always encouraged me. They never stopped me from following my ultimate dream of being a pro-athlete, even if I came home injured! They supported me in other ways too. Skating isn’t the cheapest sport to practice, from gear, to travel expenses but they were always there. I am forever grateful for all my parents put into my skating career.”
I wonder how much being in Lagos has helped his career, as it is well-known for speed skating and many national and international titles have been won by Roller Lagos athletes. “Numerous high ranked international events have taken place in Lagos and everyone loves to visit us. From four years old, Roller Lagos was my club. Their training is very good and I have had several coaches from the club. Roller Lagos’s Paulo Batista was most the important coach in my skating evolution, the knowledge in that man is incredible."