The medal tally for Commonwealth Games 2010 is fast approaching the promised hundred for India. But while many of these medals are in sports that we Indians always banked upon, like wrestling, shooting and weight lifting, the surprise entry of the event has been gymnastics. And we have stunned both the world and ourselves by not winning just one but two medals in the sports all thanks to one nineteen year old named Ashish Kumar.
If you google Ashish Kumar’s name you will find innumerable search results about the news of his victory but none about the man himself. It seems the gymnast has truly risen from oblivion to mark his name as the first Indian to win a Commonwealth Gymnastics medal for the country.
Although Ashish Kumar himself is a bit disappointed that he could not win the gold, his bronze and silver medal win have ensured that his name will be written in golden letters in the history of Indian sports.
What makes the victory sweeter is the fact that he hails from Allahabad and not a metro like Delhi or Mumbai where prospective champions get better training opportunities. Looks like Allahabad has another A-star to cheer for apart from the bollywood king Amitabh Bachhan.
Our country if you go by the number of people practising yoga and martial art forms like Kalaripayattu, can assuredly produce hundreds of Ashish Kumar if given the proper guidance and exposure. Ashish himself was like a rough diamond that was chiselled into perfection only after Russian coach Vladimir Chertkov began training the gymnasts. Says Ashish that it was the one year training with the Russian that made him realise his true potential. On the other hand the coach was so confident about his prodigy’s skills that even before the competition he predicted that Ashish would win a medal.
Hopefully then, this medal winner will inspire many more Indians to take up to Gymnastics and India’s win in this agile sports form will become a constant.