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Not being able to participate in World Championship will affect our Olympic preparations: Rakesh Patra


Top gymnast Rakesh Patra said that their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will be hampered if India doesn’t take part in the Artistic Gymnastics World Championship scheduled to be held next month.

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Indian gymnasts were left in the dark when the World Championship team wasn’t cleared by the sports ministry since the Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) isn’t a recognised body under the national sports code.

“If we are not able to participate in the Doha World championship we would never know where we stand in the global ranking chart. We need to test ourselves against the best to understand where we need to improve ahead of the Olympics,” Patra, as quoted by PTI, said.

“Next year there is the qualifying event (World Championships in Stuttgart) for 2020 Tokyo Games and if this issue continues it will affect our chances. It will affect India’s reputation in the global stage,” he added. Patra had secured a fourth-place finish in the ring event at the FIG World Challenge Cup held in Turkey in August.

2018 World Cup bronze medallist winner Aruna Budda Reddy and Ashish Kumar, a double medallist at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth are the other members of the gymnastics team. Pranati Nayak from West Bengal is also a part of the team.

Gymnastics coach Bisheshwar Nandi, who is currently training Dipa Karmakar said that he is waiting for a decision and he has faith in the system.

“We will be travelling to New Delhi by September 22. We are waiting for a decision. It is a very important event ahead of Olympics. Let’s see what the sports ministry decides. I have faith in the system so hopefully everything will fall into place,” he said.

The looming uncertainty over their participation has done enough damage already, with no camps or trials being put to place.

“We had participated in the trials for the Asian Games and ideally that should be valid for three months but if there is another one for the worlds meet, I am ready but there should be a camp. We all are training in our respective centres. I am in Mumbai and Dipa is in Agartala. It is quite frustrating to wait in this way

Patra is nonetheless hopeful of the fact that the Federation would send them to the event with September 25 being the cutoff date for sending the names to the organisers.

“The federation has already sent the definitive entries but nominative entries need to be sent by September 25. I am hoping the Federation and Ministry will come to a decision soon. If they don’t I have to bear the cost or seek help from organisations such as GoSports etc,” he said.

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