Gymnastics in India largely remained in obscurity before the Rio Olympics in 2016. However, Dipa Karmakar’s remarkable performance during the Olympics swiftly captured national attention and admiration.
Social media buzzed with praises for her, momentarily thrusting Indian gymnastics into the spotlight. Regrettably, this heightened interest dwindled within a short span, causing Indian gymnasts to once again fade into relative obscurity.
What often goes unnoticed is that preceding and following Dipa Karmakar’s rise, there have been other individuals who have brought honour to India on the international gymnastics stage. Remarkably, India’s debut in gymnastics dates back to the 1952 Olympics, with subsequent appearances in 1956 and 1964.
Despite numerous challenges, a select group of Indians persistently toiled to achieve excellence in gymnastics. Overcoming obstacles, they carved out successes that deserve recognition and celebration.
Neglecting these achievements due to the sport’s limited popularity would be a disservice, as every triumph in this discipline deserves its moment of acknowledgement.
In this article let’s explore the achievements of the top 10 Indian Gymnasts.
Below is the list of the top 10 Indian Gymnasts along with achievements:
|● First Indian female to qualify for the Olympics.
● Winner of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Padma Shri.
● Bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.
● Only the 5th gymnast to pull off the Produnova vault.
● Bronze in the 2015 Asian Championship (Vault)
|● First Indian to win a Bronze medal in the women’s individual vault event at the 2018 Gymnastics WC
|● Bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
● Silver in men’s vault CWG 2010.
● Bronze medal in 2006 – Asian Championship.
|Meghana Gundlapally Reddy
|● First Indian to perform in Rhythmic Gymnastics at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
|● Participated in 7 events at the 1956 Summer Olympics.
● Arjuna Award – 1961.
|● 1st Indian gymnast to win an international competition in Russia in 1969.
● Arjuna Award – 1975
|● Arjuna Award – 1985
|● Arjuna Award – 1989
|● Arjuna Award- 2000
|● Second Indian female gymnast to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
● Bronze medal in 2019- Asian Championships
1. Dipa Karmakar:
Certainly! Dipa Karmakar, the Indian gymnast, made her mark in 2014 by securing bronze at the Commonwealth Games, becoming the first Indian female gymnast to achieve this feat.
Her exceptional performance included the challenging Produnova vault, earning her global recognition. In the 2015 Asian Championship, she clinched another bronze in Vault, another historic achievement for Indian gymnastics
Dipa’s qualification for the Olympics was another milestone, making her the first Indian female gymnast to achieve this. Although she narrowly missed a medal in Rio 2016, her determination shone through.
She has received prestigious awards like the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Padma Shri, and her resilient spirit hints at future success, potentially in the upcoming Tokyo Games.
2. Aruna Reddy:
In the realm of Indian gymnastics, Aruna Reddy etched her name in history during the 2018 Gymnastics World Cup, securing a bronze in the women’s individual vault event and marking the first instance of the Indian National Anthem playing at the Gymnastics World Cup.
She had also participated in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, participating in both individual and team events, though her World Championship achievements weren’t replicated there.
Aruna’s journey included appearances in 2013, 2014, and 2017 World Championships before her significant triumph in 2018.
3. Ashish Kumar:
Ashish Kumar is the first Indian gymnast who conquered India’s inaugural medal in gymnastics on the international level.
Although Dipa Karmakar’s remarkable presence in gymnastics in India is unforgettable. But Ashish Kumar has equally contributed to the success of Indian gymnasts.
Moreover, Ashish Kumar is from Allahabad. He won two medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Ashish Kumar managed to grab the first medal bronze. Next, he won a silver medal in the men’s vault.
Later on, with his consistent performance Ashish strived to grab a bronze medal in the floor exercise at the 2010 Asian Games. This 29-year-old veteran Indian gymnast has more to his accomplishments. In the 2006 Asian Championship Ashish won a bronze medal.
All the accomplishments of Ashish Kumar’s records are achieved under critical challenges. One of the historic wins of Ashish Kumar is the bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. This has made him a prominent part of the realm of Ijdian gymnastics by the Gymnastics Federation of India.
4. Mantu Debnath:
Hailing from Agartala, Tripura, Mantu Debnath achieved a historic milestone in 1969 by becoming the first Indian gymnast to triumph in an international competition held in Russia.
Holder of the national gymnastics championship title, Mantu’s prowess was further recognized with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1975, commemorating his significant contributions to the field.
He marked a first for Tripura as the initial Arjuna awardee, and only the second gymnast in India to receive the honour after Sham Lal. The legendary athlete Dalip Singh was instrumental in training this exceptional gymnast.
5. Meghana Gundlapally Reddy:
Meghana Gundlapally Reddy was the first Indian Gymnast to perform in Rhythmic Gymnastics at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Though Meghana is just 16 years old. But the kind of gymnastic skills she holds indicates a bright future ahead of her.
6. Sham Lal:
Sham Lal, born in 1938, stands as one of the renowned Indian gymnasts who remarkably competed across 7 events during the 1956 Summer Olympics. Additionally, he secured a distinct place in history by becoming the first gymnast to be conferred with the Arjuna Award in 1961.
7. Sunita Sharma:
Hailing from Ambala, Haryana, Sunita Sharma stands as one of the prominent figures in Indian gymnasts. Her dedication and accomplishments in the field earned her the esteemed Arjuna Award in 1985, marking a significant recognition of her contributions to the sport.
8. Krupali Patel:
Krupali Patel, a dynamic personality in Indian gymnastics, boasts a dual role as both a player and coach. Her impact on the sport was truly remarkable, leading to her being honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1989.
Notably, she holds the distinction of being India’s youngest recipient of the Arjuna Award, a testament to her exceptional achievements.
9. Kalpana Debnath:
Hailing from Tripura, Kalpana Debnath’s excellence in gymnastics has brought her well-deserved acclaim. Winning the Arjuna Award in 2000, she added her name to the list of celebrated Indian gymnasts.
Her achievement holds historical significance as she became the second gymnast from Tripura to receive the Arjuna Award, following in the footsteps of the esteemed Mantu Debnath.
10. Pranati Nayak:
Pranati Nayak, born on April 6, 1995, is one of the most accomplished Indian gymnasts in the sports.
Notably, she secured the bronze medal in vault at the 2019 Asian Championships, becoming the third Indian gymnast to achieve an international vault medal after Dipa Karmakar and Aruna Reddy.
A trailblazer herself, she qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics, becoming the second Indian female gymnast to do so. Pranati Nayak’s achievements extend to being the 2019 Indian all-around champion.
She has also represented India in various prestigious events including the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and World Championships from 2014 to 2019.
The realm of Indian gymnastics is graced by the remarkable accomplishments of its top 10 Indian gymnasts. From Dipa Karmakar’s trailblazing achievements to the dedication of unsung heroes, these individuals have defied the odds and showcased India’s prowess on the global gymnastics platform.
Their stories inspire us to recognize and celebrate the perseverance, talent, and hard work that contribute to India’s presence in this challenging discipline.
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