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Asiad medal fuels Ashish's London dreams

other Updated: Aug 05, 2011 01:02 IST
Sharad Deep

Gymnast Ashish Kumar is yet to qualify for the 2012 London Games, but his mother and other family members are waiting for the day when the son brings home an Olympic medal.

"After his success at the CWG and Asian Games, Ashish promised he would win an Olympic medal," said his mother, Asha Prasad, who is also his mental trainer.

Ashish is aware of the promise. "Medals at the CWG and Asian Games are the beginning. An Olympic medal is my dream and I'm determined to work in that direction," he said over the phone from the Basildon Sporting Village in Essex, where the four-member Indian men's squad is training.

"Winning the first medal in gymnastics for India at the Asian Games was the greatest moment of my life. It was tough, as I didn't have much practice after the CWG. But I'm happy."

Qualifying chances

Ashish will have three, including two direct, chances to qualify for London. The one will come at the World Championships (Oct 8-12) at Tokyo, where even a bronze will earn him a Games ticket. If he fails, he will try his luck at the pre-Olympics at London in January, but will have to finish among the top-24.

Even if he misses out, Ashish will still have a chance through a wild card. But that would depend on the Indian Olympic Association's recommendation to the International Olympic Council. "That is the last resort, but I'm sure Ashish will make it in his first attempt in Tokyo," said coach, DK Rathore.

"Ashish is touching 6.6 (value of 7) repeatedly on floor and has been doing exceptionally well (7.2) in vaulting," he said.

Ashish happens to be the only one in the four-member team, which includes Alok Ranjan, Iqrar Hasan and Rakesh Kumar Patra, who looks like making it.

Despite his outburst against Indian officials in Guangzhou, Russian-born American coach, Vladimir Chertkov, has been retained by the Gymnastics Federation of India for the Olympics. "The boys are giving off their best at the camp and we are focussing on the qualifiers," Chertkov said from Essex.