An upbeat mood prevails as the AP teams wins gold in the Senior Nationals

Puli Ravindra Kumar may be an unknown name in the world of sports. But, it's not a reflection of his commitment in shaping the future of the young gymnasts in the SAI Sports Training Centre at Saroornagar Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad.

This 42-year-old gentleman, born in Warangal, has seen to that Andhra Pradesh team comprising K. V. Suresh, Ch. Tejdeep and B. Lakhanwalmiki clinched team gold in the Senior national gymnastics recently.

A Senior national bronze medallist in the horizontal bars during his hey days, Ravindra knows what his wards look for during training sessions. He has company in another coach K. Prabhakar who also plays a key role.

As a result of their hard work, K.V. Suresh won two gold in the team and horizontal bar besides silver in the all-round championship, vault, pommel silver and a bronze in parallel bars.

“STC is the best possible centre for gymnastics with support coming in from all quarters,” says the proud SAI coach, pointing out to the sprawling Indoor Stadium which is abuzz with early morning activity even while reminding the contribution of K. Srilatha Reddy, Assistant Director of SAI.

For the 20-year-old Suresh, a B. Com student, it was only his second Senior national and he made it a memorable one winning the gold. Buoyed by this success, this young gymnast now looks for booking a slot in the Indian team.

“I was aware of the minor mistakes which I committed in the last Nationals. And, I am happy that I did not repeat them,” says the gold medallist.

And, the 19-year-old Tejdeep, who was a junior national gold medallist in the vault, it was his maiden National and his joy of being a member of the gold-medal winning team was understandable.

Interestingly, he combines academic brilliance (being a B. Tech student) with sporting excellence, perhaps, reminding that if someone is good in sports they can be good in academics too.

“My next big aim is to win a National gold in individual event,” he insists even as his proud coach sports a big smile.

“It would have been better if I had won an individual gold too besides this team effort,” says another gifted gymnast Lakhan.

It is not just boys who put up a creditable performance even Jyothi won two bronze in the uneven bars and balancing beam in the last Senior nationals.

In fact, 21-year-old gymnast, a Degree final year student, had won the 2012 Women's national all-round gold and is rated very highly by her coach.

The gymnasts and the coaches can take pride from the fact that the AP Gymnastics Association is pro-active with the hard-working secretary M. Balraj doing his best to ensure the State gymnasts get as many opportunities on the bigger stages as possible.

The beauty of gymnastics training at Indoor Stadium is that it has another coach-turned G. Ravinder (DSDO of SAAP) and SAI administrator Prabhakar amongst others who are from the same discipline and thereby make the young trainees feel more assured – both in training and in terms of exposure.

Keywords: gymnastics