India’s rhythmic squad finishes bottom of the table in the group event of the 38th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Gymnastics late Friday night in Japan. The Indian team coach said the performance was satisfactory.
The national team, cleared on no cost to government basis to compete at the World Championships being held in Kitakyushu, finished at the bottom. The Indian team scored 30.100 points while leading nations like Italy and Russia scored above 85 points.
Despite the below par performance, Varsha Upadhye, the Indian team coach, said the performance was satisfactory.
According to Varsha, the Indian team at the 2018 world championships earned 16.450 points in all rounds. At the 2021 world championships India scored 30.100 points in all rounds. Despite the lack of international exposure between 2018 and 2021 there has been big improvement in performance.
“If you look at the points scored on Friday night in Japan during the world championships, there is a big improvement. We might have finished bottom of the table, but it was a good performance overall because there has been no international exposure since 2018,” said Varsha from Japan.
International exposure is important as rhythmic gymnastics in India gets step-motherly treatment, said Varsha. If we don’t get exposure we wouldn’t know where we stand at the international level, she added.
During the national selection trials in September for Japan’s world championships, only the Premier Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy team from Mumbai took part. Varsha is head coach of the Mumbai’s academy and she was also coach of the Indian team in Japan.
There were allegations of manipulating scores during national selection trials in September. Varsha faced criticism for getting approval from the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) to send the team to Japan.
“I faced criticism when GFI gave its approval to send the team to Japan. But we have been making efforts during the pandemic. If other states or coaches in India aren’t active it is not our fault. It's not the fault of the girls who worked hard during the pandemic to stay fit,” she points to challenges faced to prepare the team.
Varsha said she hopes the government will provide financial assistance to gain international experience in 2022.
“The world championships in Japan turned out to be a good experience overall for the girls. To further improve our performance the national rhythmic team should get more international exposure in 2022. That would only happen if there is financial support from the government,” said Varsha.
Varsha has approached the Maharashtra state government to reimburse the expenditure incurred during the Japan’s world championships.
Meanwhile, India’s Bavleen Kaur, competing in the individual section, also finished down the ladder. She earned a 65th spot out of 68 competitors in the fray.
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