According to gymnastics coaches, this was the “best” team picked for the Gold Coast Games.
New Delhi: After much drama, the gymnastics team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games has been announced, dividing opinion of coaches and athletes regarding its composition.
With a Wednesday deadline for submitting the squad list, the Gymnastic Federation of India named a team comprising Rakesh Patra, Ashish Kumar, Yogeshwar Singh, Aruna Reddy, Pranati Nayak, Pranati Das and Meghana Gundlapally.
Initially, it is learnt, the squad picked by a selection committee headed by IOA representative Sunaina Kumari had Gaurav Kumar and Mohammad Bobby in place of Patra and Singh.
Rings and parallel bar specialist Patra, who came fourth in the recent World Cup in Melbourne, then approached the Delhi high court seeking relief as the three-member selection panel dithered from declaring the team even though weeks had passed since the trials were held here from February 12 to 14.
“I feel sad for Bobby and Gaurav as it was a big break for them. They are depressed and skipped training as well. They were excited about their debut at the CWG,” Ashish Kumar said on Thursday.
“When trials took place the top three were named in the team. It was a fair selection and we should have stuck to that team. It was heart-breaking for Gaurav and Bobby as their names were omitted at the last moment,” he added.
But according to gymnastics coaches, this was the “best” team picked for the Gold Coast Games.
“Bobby and Gaurav were mediocre gymnasts while Patra and Yogeshwar were more experienced and talented. The trials were done on an all-round basis while our boys are specialised in individual apparatus. The team that we are sending now has chances of bringing back medals,” men’s artistic team coach Ashok Kumar Mishra said from Puri.
Former SAI gymnastics coach R.N. Mangla echoed the view. “This the best possible team that India can send to the CWG. Aruna is a medal prospect… she is in red-hot form after returning with bronze from the World Cup. Patra and Ashish can also enter the finals. Meghana is another we can bet on in rhythmic gymnastics.”