Calisthenics and mountaineering is an unheard combination, especially in a country like India. But sprinting towards putting the country on the global map in the sport is the 22-year-old Srushti Shah.
Shah was merely 11-year-old when she first started mountaineering. Such was the euphoria of conquering a summit that she has always kept running back to it.
"I was always a very sporty kid. In school, I used to play football and athletics – short sprints mainly, but it was the mountains that attracted me the most. I started mountaineering when I was just an 11-year-old and have not looked back since," Srushti told The Bridge.
It was eventually her love for mountaineering that drew Shah towards calisthenics – a sport she has represented India multiple times, including the recently concluded 2022 World Calisthenics Championships in Latvia.
"It was the need for strength to climb mountains that introduced me to Calisthenics. I wanted to build strength but did not want to lift weights, so Calisthenics became my go-to routine to achieve that required strength," she said.
Though no one from Srushti's family ever played any sport professionally, they were all united in their support for her.
"No one from my family was ever into sports. In fact, I was the first one to choose this unconventional line but there were never any restrictions. My entire family was always united in their support towards my love of sports," she said.
One of the pioneers of the Indian calisthenics scene, Shah believes that the covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown has helped create a boom for the sport in the country.
"Before the pandemic, a lot of the calisthenics in India was underground. It still is, but it has gained a lot of popularity in the past couple of years. When the lockdown happened and people were struck at homes without their gym equipment, they started to realise the value of calisthenics. Ultimately, that is what calisthenics is about – exercises performed with minimal equipment," Shah explained.
Srushti says that the Indian calisthenics is a very united, tight-knit community.
"If we look at it, the Indian calisthenics community defines being united through sports. All of us have always got each other's back, be it in competitions, training, or whatever. The support I have received from my fellow athletes is next level and I think eventually that is one of the most important things in any sport," she said.
We proudly present this story to you in association with Myntra's #UnitedInSports campaign on the occasion of National Sports Day.