Tokyo Olympian Pranati Nayak hopes to give her best during the upcoming National Gymnastics Championships

20th Commonwealth Games - Day 5: Artistic Gymnastics - Nayak in action
20th Commonwealth Games - Day 5: Artistic Gymnastics - Nayak in action
Navneet Singh

Pranati Nayak is a Tokyo Olympian and India’s Asian bronze medalist in women’s vault, hailing from West Bengal. Nayak is all focused on competing at next month's national gymnastics championships scheduled to be held in Jammu.

Pranati Nayak is the second Indian female gymnast after Dipa Karmakar to compete at the Olympic Games. The West Bengal gymnast was the only Indian gymnast to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Dipa Karmakar competed at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and finished an incredible fourth in women’s vault event. But Dipa failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Last month there was speculation that Pranati Nayak was nursing an injury. She skipped national selection trials conducted by the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) in September here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Sports Complex. The trials were meant to select teams for the just concluded World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Japan.

The 26-year-old from Kolkata on Friday put to rest speculation that she was on the injured list.

“There is no injury issue. I skipped the national selection trials because I wanted to take a break after the Tokyo Olympics Games held from July 23 to August 8 in Japan. That’s all. I am training hard. I will compete in the upcoming national championships,” said Pranati Nayak from Kolkata.

The national championships were last held in 2016-17. The GFI calendar was disrupted due to infighting between the officials of the federation. The GFI, however, has sorted out their internal issues and plans to conduct senior national championships in November.

“We plan to conduct senior national championships in Jammu. The infrastructure is good. The competition is expected to take place in the third week of November,” said Sudhir Mittal, president of GFI.

Pranati Nayak had to deal with the consequences of the pandemic

Due to the pandemic, several Olympic qualification competitions were canceled or postponed.

Pranati Nayak was lucky to have got continental quota to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games. She was reallocated continental quota on the basis of her bronze medal won at the 2019 Asian Championships held in Mongolia.

The continental quota was reallocated to her by the world governing body in gymnastics (FIG) to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Despite earning a continental quota place, Pranati Nayak failed to perform at the Tokyo Olympic Games. She finished at the bottom of table in women’s vault event.

The International gymnast ffrom Kolkata said, wasn’t able to stay focused during the Olympic Games due to an off-the-field controversy regarding a change of coach prior to the Olympics.

“Earning continental quota was a good thing, but I couldn’t stay focused. I failed to perform,” she said.

Two months before the Olympic Games, Pranati Nayak refused to train under her Minara Begum, a retired Sports Authority of India (SAI) gymnastics coach. To prepare for the Olympics, she started training under the guidance of another SAI’s gymnastics coach Lakhan Sharma.

Putting behind the coach controversy and disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games, she is hopeful of a good performance in the 2022 season.

“I took a short break after the Tokyo Olympic Games. I have started training at the SAI center in Kolkata under the guidance of Lakhan Sir. I hope to give my best at the next month’s national competition and international events in 2022,” she said.

Also Read: "I am now able to run easily without pain" - Asian Games bronze medalist in steeplechase Naveen Dagar

Edited by Diptanil Roy
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