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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Commonwealth Games 2018: Ashish Kumar, Aruna Reddy can floor rivals in gymnastics

Ashish Kumar, Aruna Reddy will lead the charge for India in gymnastics at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.

other-sports Updated: Mar 31, 2018 09:38 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ashish Kumar will be the most prominent medal contender for India in gymnastics at the Commonwealth Games 2018.
Ashish Kumar will be the most prominent medal contender for India in gymnastics at the Commonwealth Games 2018.(Getty Images)

For decades, gymnastics was on the fringes of Indian sports. That was till 2010, when Ashish Kumar helped the sport vault to the front, bagging silver and bronze at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Ashish, the bronze-medal winner in vault at the 2006 Asian Championships in Surat, repeated the feat at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou (China), winning the floor exercise bronze medal.

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And when Dipa Karmakar bagged bronze at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and narrowly missed a medal by finishing fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, gymnastics suddenly moved to the front pages of newspapers.

Growing list

Now, no longer are questions asked about the selection of gymnasts for mega multi-sport events. A few months back, Budda Aruna Reddy added to the growing list of Indian gymnasts, becoming the first from the country to win a medal in the World Cup Series. Her bronze in vault in Melbourne puts her right up there among the favourites for medals in Gold Coast.

In Melbourne, Aruna made it to the vault final with the second-best score in qualifying. She had a score of 13.566 in her two attempts. Aruna had an excellent vault in her first attempt, bagging 4.600 for difficulty and 9.066 for execution. She could not repeat the feat in her second attempt and finished behind Australia’s Emily Whitehead.

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Vault is her main event and she will hope to repeat her Melbourne showing in Gold Coast. While Aruna will lead the charge in the women’s section in the absence of Dipa Karmakar, who is injured, all eyes will be on Ashish Kumar in the men’s section. The 27-year-old from Allahabad will look to add more medals to the two he had won in 2010 New Delhi, in his third CWG.

Controversy surrounded Ashish’s selection during the 2014 Games and he failed to impress in floor exercise. He will hope to compete in vault and floor exercise, and his priority would be to first make it to the final.

Ashish’s teammate Rakesh Patra had narrowly missed bronze in rings in 2006 Melbourne and will hope to do better in Gold Coast. They will have to be mindful that the competition in Gold Coast could be tougher than at Melbourne.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 08:58 IST

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