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The past two months in Indian gymnastics have been riddled with nothing other than drama, false promises, politics, fights among associations and lastly, a tinge of real gymnastics competition. A series of date postpones, coupled with uncertainty over competitions and trials, have hindered the preparation time for athletes. Starting with the Junior and Senior National Championships conducted in Balewadi, Pune in May, followed by the trials for Asian Championships that ultimately took place on 7th June at the IG Stadium in Delhi, gymnasts and coaches across the country have not been aware of when trials will be held and how many gymnasts will be selected. After a fortnight worth of fighting and notices being issued over the legitimacy of the national championships by one faction of the Gymnastics Federation of India, the competition finally took place on the 3rd, 4th and 5th May in Pune, Maharashtra. A close battle for gold between the Maharashtra and Railways team in the women’s competition resulted in the home team narrowly edging out the Railways for the title. In the all-around, it was veteran Indian gymnast, Pranati Nayak of the Railways team bagging the gold, followed by Shraddha Talekar from Maharashtra and Papiya Das from West Bengal capping off the three. In the men’s competition, the Services team won the gold by a mile followed by the Railways and Maharashtra. Yogeshwar Singh grabbed the first place in the all-around, followed by Abhijeet Kumar and Aditya Rana. Shraddha Talekar, Pranati Nayak and Papiya Das Image: IndianGymnastics.com The national championships set the scene as a precursor to the upcoming Asian Championships Trials, for which there was no official date announced until 13th May. With series of date changes and last-minute information sharing, the trials which were supposed to be held on 17th May was postponed to the 30th and 31st May. These last-minute announcements by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) left gymnasts baffled and underprepared for the trials, resulting in multiple gymnasts writing letters to higher up officials requesting a date change to ensure adequate preparation for trials, as well as sufficient travel time. Bowing to the pressure of the demands raised by the top athletes, the date was once again changed to the 7th June. Top gymnasts including Rakesh Patra, Ashish Kumar, Dipa Karmakar and Aruna Reddy were expected to compete at the trials. However, it was announced that Dipa was still dealing with minor knee injuries that would keep her out of competition for a few more months and Aruna Reddy was still not at her 100 percent following her ACL reconstruction last December. SAI conducted the trials of top all-around gymnasts adhering to the usual selection policy for the Championships. However, they did not announce how many gymnasts will be selected from the ranking to compete at the Championships. The men and women gymnasts of the India contingent competed in the first session of the trials, followed by the non-campers. Abhijeet Kumar, Yogeshwar Singh and Aditya Rana. Image: IndianGymnastics.com Although the official ranking hasn’t been released in the women’s competition, it was Pranati Nayak who once again grabbed the top spot, followed by Shraddha Talekar and Pranati Das. In the men’s competition, veteran star Rakesh Patra competed for the all-around and was tied first with Yogeshwar Singh. It is yet to be seen, how many gymnasts SAI will send to Mongolia for the Championships later this month. The hope among gymnasts and coaches alike is that they will send full five-person teams on the men’s and women’s side. Of course, in the past, we have witnessed different sports associations in India have often proved their lack of regard for the athletes and their sheer hunger for making political inroads. However, we continue to applaud athletes for their perseverance and work ethic to keep their hopes alive amidst the sorry conditions in which they must fight to fulfil their dreams. We wish the Indian Team the very best in Mongolia and we hope they can bring home a medal!