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Medal hopes in gymnastics in 2014 for India

Vijay Anand
2.88K   //    12 May 2014, 14:48 IST
Ashish Kumar, winner of 2 medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2010

Ashish Kumar, winner of 2 medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2010

Bodily agility is an essential ingredient in almost every physical sport. More so than in other sports in gymnastics.

Gymnastics has been made popular around the world thanks to the Olympic movement. Russia was the pioneer in this sport. Since the beginning, Russia has been the dominant force. The major factor behind Russia’s success is the Russian Army, which has adopted and nurtured this sport in order to take it to new heights.

Japan was the frontrunner among Asian countries. Team Nippon seriously challenged the monopoly of Russia and countries from the Russian Block on the international stage. Romania, USA and China are the other forces worth mentioning.

As far as India is concerned, their participation itself was a joke for a long time. The bronze medal won by Ashish Kumar at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi in Floor Exercise was the first medal by an Indian gymnast at any international event. The icing on the cake though was yet to come. He added a silver in the Vault the next day. Ashish didn’t stop there, he won bronze in Floor Exercises again at the Asian Games the same year. It put Indian gymnastics on the world map and brought it to everyone else’s notice.

Well, things have moved fast since then. His coach, Ashok Mishra, is confident that the lad will get better and better in the coming days. Rakesh Patra is another Indian medal prospect in Rings. The 21-year-old boy form Odisha is regularly scoring around 13.500 points. A score of 14.225 can give him a fighting chance of a medal at Glasgow. Dipa Karmakar caries the hope in the women’s section. She is 20-years-old and is from Tripura. At the National Games in 2011, she was sensational as she won all the gold medals on offer in individual apparatus to claim the all-round title. She is a fast-rising star in international championships as well. At the 2013 World Championships, she finished 18th in the Vault event. A score of 14.57 can give her a chance of fetching a medal on the world stage.

When Ashish won his first medal, Russian-born Indian coach Vladimir Chertkov revealed that till August 2009, there had been no equipment. Ashish trained on a hard mat till February 2010, after which equipment arrived, most of them sadly, over 20 years old.

The situation is not as dull as it was four years ago. SAI and the Gymnastics Association of India have invested a lot in the game. It is a game where India can achieve more success. 54 medals were shared amongst 16 nations at the London Olympics in 2012. Its a big cake from which India can snatch a few pieces if they labour hard.

The year 2014 is very important for Indian gymnastics. The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games are set to take place this year. If they train and prepare well, the gymnastics team of India can return home with a couple of medals, from both Glasgow and Incheon.

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