Birmingham, July 27: Of all the competitions that Indian gymnasts have taken part in the last two decades, they have achieved the maximum success in the Commonwealth Games.
India have won three medals so far in the Commonwealth Games in gymnastics. In the 2010 edition, Ashish Kumar won a silver and bronze medal in vault and floor exercise respectively, while Dipa Karmakar won bronze in vault in the 2014 edition in Glasgow.
In Birmingham, India’s best hopes are from Pranati Nayak, who won a bronze medal in the Asian Championships recently. Though the competition at the Commonwealth Games is tougher than the Asian Championships, Pranati was quite bullish about her chances on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old from West Bengal is in good form and is focusing on vault, which seems the country’s best option in Birmingham. She had a disappointing outing in the Olympics and will now be hoping to overcome that disappointment in Birmingham.
“I have prepared well and am hopeful of a medal,” said Pranati at an event organised by the Indian High Commission in Britain on Tuesday evening.
Pranati, who had to cross many hurdles, including barbs from neighbours and friends directed at her parents for allowing their daughter to wear body-revealing clothes while competing in gymnastics, said determination, hard work, and hunger for success have brought her so far and will keep her in good stead in future as well.
“Though gymnastics is for younger players, I have done well in recent years and plan to continue till the 2024 Paris Olympics. I am 27 now and recently won a bronze medal in the Asian Championships,” said Pranati.
For doing well at the international level, players need to have a signature move or routine that fetches them high scores. Like the ‘Produnova vault’ perfected by Dipa Karmakar that helped her finish fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, said Pranati.
The Indian gymnast is known to attempt the very difficult ‘double-back salto’ tucked with full twists and has also tried the ‘front salto’ with one-and-half-twists before landing, which is just like Produnova and rarely attempted in competitions.
Pranati has decided to take risks in the crucial vault attempts so as to shock the field, just like Dipa did with the Produnova in Rio Olympics.
Pranati, who won a bronze medal in Doha last month, said she has worked on both these routines and is confident of pulling them off when needed so as to give fellow competitors something to think about.
With seasoned coach Bisweswar Nandi taking over the reins of the gymnastics team following the withdrawal of Rohit Jaiswal after woman gymnast Aruna Bodda alleged that he had videographed her without her consent, the sport has come out of those difficult times and the athletes are confident of doing well, said Pranati.