Hyderabad: Gymnastics is one of the sports that Indians failed to prove their mettle on the world stage. India always entered the competitions as mere contestants rather than medal contenders.
However, in the last edition of the Rio Games, Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian female gymnast to represent the country. And her stellar performance, where she finished fourth narrowly missing a bronze, gave a new lease of life for the sport in the country with many kids taking to the sport. After the Rio show, Dipa became a household name. She became the first Indian to win a gold and second Indian after Hyderabad’s Aruna Budda Reddy, to win a medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup.
Five years after Dipa’s exploits, there is nothing much to hope for. With Dipa and second best in the country Aruan Reddy struggling with injuries and the Covid-10 pandemic forcing the cancellation of various tournaments around the world, only Pranati Nayak managed to make the cut for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Pranati, who had won a bronze in Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championship in 2019, made the cut after qualifying through the continental quota. The 26-year-old from West Bengal is the second reserve behind Sri Lanka’s Elpitiya Badalge Dona Milka Geh for the Asian quota. The cancellation of 9th Senior Asian Championships in Hangzhou, China meant the Indian was assured of a spot. However, a medal in gymnastics will continue to be a distant dream for now.
Event: All-round event
India’s Previous Performance
- Dipa Karmakar finished fourth in the vault event in Rio Olympics, 2016
- 11 Gymnasts represented India since independence (two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964)
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