Uncertain future haunts gymnasts

New Delhi: With uncertainty hovering over India’s participation in next month’s Gymnastic World Championships (Oct 25-Nov 3), top gymnast Rakesh Patra and Dipa Karmakar’s coach said Wednesday that not taking part in the competition will affect preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.

Indian gymnasts were left in the lurch after reports emerged that the Sports Ministry refused to clear the team for the World Championships since the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) is de-recognised and stands suspended as per the national sports code.

“If we are not able to participate in Doha we would never know where we stand in the global ranking chart. We need to test ourselves against the best to understand where we need to improve ahead of the Olympics,” stated Patra.

“Next year there is the qualifying event (World Championships in Stuttgart) for 2020 Tokyo Games and if this issue continues it will affect our chances. It will affect India’s reputation on the global stage,” he added.

Besides Patra and Dipa, the other members of the gymnastics team are Aruna Budda Reddy, Ashish Kumar Pranati Nayak.

Coach Bishweswar Nandi, who is currently training a fit-again Dipa in Agartala, said he is taking the wait-and-watch policy.

“We will be travelling to New Delhi, September 22. We are waiting for a decision. It is a very important event ahead of Olympics. Let’s see what the Sports Ministry decides,” Nandi stated.

September 25 is the cut-off date for sending entries ‘by names’ to the organisers and Patra is hopeful that the federation will find a way to send them to the event. Else, he will have to bear the cost.

“I am hoping the Federation and Ministry will come to a decision soon. If they don’t I have to bear the cost or seek help from organisations such as GoSports etc,” he informed.

 

“We need to participate in the World Championships to understand
where we stand among the best”

Rakesh Patra

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