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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

No smooth landing for gymnasts at Asian trials

he selection was conducted by Sports Authority of India to pick up probables for the national camp in preparation for the Asian Championships Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in June.

other-sports Updated: Apr 15, 2019 12:16 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Representative Image.
Representative Image.(AFP)

‘Poor execution’ or imperfect landing was a concern during the two-day trials that concluded Saturday here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. The selection was conducted by Sports Authority of India to pick up probables for the national camp in preparation for the Asian Championships Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in June. Those selected will attend an eight-week long camp starting April 16.

Former chief coach GS Bawa, who was coordinating the selection of the players, was disappointed.

“Perfect landing is the last thing judges take note and a tiny step or large step can ruin chances of medals,” he said. “The poor landings show that most of our gymnasts are not training properly.”

With the World Championships—a qualifying event for 2020 Tokyo Olympic—just six months away, Bawa said it would be a challenge for India’s leading gymnasts to improve on this aspect.

Commonwealth and Asian Games medalist in 2010, Ashish Kumar, had a narrow escape due to improper landing during the vault session.

The Railways athlete hasn’t participated in any international events this year.

The chances of Olympic qualification for an Indian gymnast looks bleak after Dipa Karmakar, who in 2016 became the first Indian woman gymnast to compete at the Olympics, aggravated a knee injury—after a poor landing—at the Baku World Cup in March. Her coach BS Nandi said that it will take around three months for the injury to heal.

With Dipa out, players like Parnati Nayak from West Bengal, who had finished eighth in vault at Jakarta Asian Games, was seen struggling during the trials.

“Right now, I’m not training properly,” Nayak said, “but once in the camp I could do better.”

Few Olympic disciplines in India suffer as much as gymnastics when it comes to poor administration. Since 2011, there have been two bitterly warring factions instead of a single ruling body for the sport. While one faction of the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) is recognised by the world body, they stand de-recognized and suspended as per the national sports code. National championships and national camps have been held irregularly, and players are often at the mercy of Sports Authority of India to bail them out with funds for participating in international tournaments.

Last year, Indian gymnasts missed out on participation in both the Rhythmic Gymnastics and Artistic Gymnastics World Championships after the Sports Ministry refused to clear the teams.

Despite the chaos Army’s Yogeshwar Singh, whose 2018 Jakarta Asian Games ‘all-round performance’ of 75.960 ranked him 17th at continental level and 35th at world level, is hopeful of making it to the top 12 at Germany’s World Championship, which will earn him a ticket to Tokyo.

“A score of 80.00 and above would help me win the berth for Tokyo,” the 21-year-old said. “Good landing with difficulty is the main focus. That’s my aim. There is no harm in trying.”