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With eyes on the Olympics, gymnast Shraddha Talekar aims to make it big

With eyes on the Olympics, gymnast Shraddha Talekar aims to make it big

Aryan Mishra

Published: 16 Jun 2019 11:17 AM GMT
Seventeen years of experience paid dividends when the girl from Maharashtra earned her maiden call to represent India at the World Challenge Cup Series Gymnastics tournament in Croatia in May 2019. After Shraddha Talekar's dominating performance in National Championships in May last month, where she won Silver Medal for Maharashtra, she received her call for the international debut. Shraddha along with Ashish Kumar and Rakesh Kumar Patra led the Indian contingent in Croatia. When asked about her international debut, Shraddha told The Bridge, “It was one of the happiest moments of my life, and at the same time it was an emotional moment, too. I had missed opportunities to qualify at the Commonwealth and Asian Games both in 2014 and 2018. But, to do it just after heartbreaking Asian Games and before the Olympic Games, I couldn’t have thought for a better time.”
Image : Gymnastics Federation of India “It has been a journey of ups and downs ever since I took up this game. I was introduced to this game at the age of nine when I had joined gymnastics for my summer camp. I never knew this game would lead me to represent my country one day. Back in those times, gymnastics was just for fun until one of the coaches in Thane, Maharashtra believed that I have natural abilities for this game. I moved to Pune 12 years ago and ever since I have been staying away from my family to make my country proud. It’s tough to stay away from your family for this long, but one has to make sacrifices to achieve something big in life.”
Shraddha reflects on her journey in her exclusive interview with The Bridge. It is a dream for every sportsperson to represent their country one day. And to achieve that milestone after such hard times, it is was a sweet taste of success for Shraddha Talekar. She has continuously been doing well and winning medals in state and national championships. But, after so many missed opportunities, she made one count and redeemed herself of her past missed opportunities to wear the Indian jersey. A little over a year remains for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and every athlete is gearing up to grab their spot and make a mark in sports' grandest stage. The preparations are in full flow for everyone, and even our gymnast from Maharashtra is not behind. But, she is keen on doing things one at a time.
“I am not looking to rush into things. Olympic Games is a huge platform for any athlete and to qualify for that I have to perform constantly and be on my toes until the Olympics. Right now, I am only looking forward to the Asian Championships from 19th to 22nd June 2019 in Mongolia.”
Image: Indiangymnastics.com An athlete goes through a lot of things in his/her life. People associated with them expect them to win every time. They feel anxious before every match, they are depressed when they are not able to perform as per their own expectations, but they do carry themselves back up every time. When asked about the external factors affecting Shraddha in her game she said,
“These are some things which as an athlete I have no control on. My parents, my coaches, my friends, they all expect me to do well every time. There are times when I feel unlucky to not qualify for an event. That is when I feel demotivated, but those are the times when my parents motivate me and push me even harder to do better. I have immense faith in my coaches, and they just ask me to believe in the process and to continue with the practice. My coaches have always told me never to focus on externalities because even if you want to, you can never control them.”
When asked about her favourite events in Gymnastics she told The Bridge,
“Even though she trains for all the four events, namely Uneven Bars, Balancing Beam, Floor Exercise and Vaults as hard as she could but she has a special place for Uneven Bars and she prefers it a little more than the others.”
Finally, she ended up putting in a few words for the upcoming generation of gymnasts. She said, “Everyone is not god gifted, but everyone can excel if they put in a lot of hard work. They should always strive for excellence and continue their hard work. And neither should anyone think of giving up at any point in their life nor should they think of changing their sport if they are not doing well in gymnastics. Because I have realized that if you are not doing well in one sport, how can you think that you will do amazing in some other.”
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