Aruna Reddy, a successful and inspiring gymnast that hails from Hyderabad, took the time out to tell us about her experience as a gymnast in India. Here’s what we learned.
How did your love for Gymnastics begin?
Well, to be honest none of my family members are athletes. Having been born in a family with two girl children, my dad wanted one of us to do something unconventional. He encouraged me to join karate and I practiced karate for 3 to 4 years, earning myself a black belt.
However I didn’t feel like like it was true calling. My karate master was able to observe my capabilities and he was the one who insisted I try out gymnastics. So I switched from karate to gymnastics. I would practice every day after school.
When did you get your very first medal?
I was being trained by Mr. Ravinder when I won my first gold medal. Earlier I was being trained by Coach Swarna Latha. I remember it was 2005 when I set my heart on my first gold.
Can you tell us about your career in the National levels?
I’ve been a two-time junior champ. This was before 2014. For some reason there was no competition held in the year of 2014. It was quite disappointing as I had been training hard for the same. I also managed to get the title of senior champ.
Respect Coach Brij Kishore, who is no longer with us, trained me for 10 years.
won bronze medal in 2018 World cup Gymnastics in women's vault event in Melbourne and Created history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a medal.
Posted by ARUNA BUDDA REDDY on Saturday, March 3, 2018
What about in the International arena?
In 2009, I participated in my 1st international competition – World School Games, Jr. Level at Doha. I have also participated in the Jr. Asian Championship at Japan.
I have been consistently improving my performance at the International podiums. My first medal was the bronze medal at the Melbourne World Cup. My performance in Jakarta earned me the 6th position in the Asian Games – 2018.
What are your personal views on Gymnastics?
Well, I would say it’s a very unique sport. There’s always something new and different you can create with gymnastics.
How do you feel about the opportunities for gymnasts in India?
To be honest, there is not much support for gymnasts in India. The sport isn’t promoted at all and it receives close to no publicity. This has been hard for many of us who work hard to get to the top. But gymnastics remains as my passion as I will keep pursuing it.
Is there any specific experience you would recall from your career as a gymnast that was special to you?
I spent the year of 2012 in Delhi. This was an amazing experience. My routine changed drastically and I had more training to keep up with but I met a lot of wonderful people along the way. There were people from all over the country. We all stayed together and this was a very fruitful experience. I learnt so much. Apart from normal training, we would spend time together organizing a few events and just having fun.
When it comes to gymnastics, who would you say is your role model?
That’s easy! My role model is none other than the world’s no.1 gymnast, Simone Biles.
Who would you say is your role model in life?
My role model in life has been my mom. After the loss of my dad, she has stood by me and my sister, through thick and thin. Being a single mom and managing the lives of two young girls can be quite a challenge. She has been a pillar of strength for me and is always there to motivate me. I have come this far today only because of her immense support and confidence in me.
What are your plans for 2019?
I am just recuperating from a surgery at the moment. So, 2019 is going to be a great challenge, especially because October of 2019 marks my last chance to get into the Olympics. This is my goal. With proper training and care I think I will be able to achieve my goal. But I must stress that it is going to be the steepest hill I have ever climbed.
What is your message for other young Indians who want to get into gymnastics?
Hard work and patience are most essential. This is a sport that takes years of development to reach success, with some people training for over 15 years. If you start out with gymnastics, especially in India, you may find that you don’t get a lot of recognition initially. But that’s not the point – the point is your passion and love for the sport. If you keep doing what you’re doing and keep improving yourself, you will be able to achieve your goals. There is no fast way to achieve results in gymnastics. Practice, patience and hard work – this has to be your mantra.