HYDERABAD: Adversity, it is said, brings out the best in man.
That, in short, explains the success of B Aruna Reddy who won the individual championship at the recently concluded 52nd Senior National Gymnastics Championship at Rai in Haryana.
The last time a girl from the State, Renuka, won the championship was way back in 1998. What more, this was Aruna’s maiden appearance at the nationals.
The intermediate girl didn’t even have time to practice due to her exams.
“It was sheer grit and confidence. I was stunned by her performance and confidence. She was simply unbeatable,” her coach Satish Reddy told City Express.
Aruna struck gold in the table vault (her favourite event) and beam events and bronze in floor exercise to emerge as the champion with 50.10 points. In the process, she beat the challenge of Bengal gymnasts Pranati Nayak and Debjani Samant.
The gymnastics nationals is usually dominated by Bengal and Maharashtra. Brij Kishore, who has been coaching Aruna at the Lal Bahadur Gymnasium hall for three years, felt that had her father Narayana Reddy been alive, he would have been proud of his daughter’s feat.
Narayana Reddy passed away in 2010.
“He would religiously come and sit outside the hall for three hours,” Kishore recalled. Seeing her talent and interest, Aruna’s sister Pavani and brother-inlaw Janardhan Reddy let her play, so to speak. Acknowledging their support, an emotional Aruna admitted, “There were times when we faced hardship but my sister and brotherin- law have been of great help. But for them, I would have quit."
Aruna, who regularly commutes from her residence in Rajendranagar to the Lal Bahadur Gymnasium hall in a bus, has it in her to shine at the international level, believes her coach Kishore.
“She has the talent but unfortunately, she has hardly any opportunity to take part in those events. She needs competition to improve her skills. And also she needs the required diet for a gymnast. In fact, we met the SAAP vicechairman yesterday and he has promised help,’’ said Kishore.
Aruna once trained in Russia for three months. “It was one of the best training centres I have seen. I learnt a lot from their training. Their work ethics is simply too good,’’ said Aruna, who started her career in karate at the age of five before switching to gymnastics on the advice of her karate coach.
For the first two years, she never showed interest in this sport. Despite that, she won the gold in table vault and came second all-round at the 2003 sub-junior nationals in Mumbai. She continued her winning streak in table vault in the Cuttack, Jaipur and Bangalore junior nationals.
Gymnastics is all about speed, endurance, stamina and strength.
“She is good in the first three but a little weak on strength. We are working on that aspect. I think if she participates in international tournaments, she can become a better gymnast,’’ said Kishore.
Aruna practises for twothree hours a day which is not sufficient for any gymnast.
A gymnast has to practise for more than five to six hours. Practice makes one perfect. Sadly, she cannot afford that.