Tokyo 2020: Pranati Nayak to be sole Indian representation in gymnastics


Dipa Karmakar was the sensation at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Now another girl is set to represent India at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Parnati Nayak is poised to get the continental quota.

A formal announcement is still awaited. But the Asian Artistic Gymnastic Championships in 2019 vault bronze medallist is set to get the ticket to Tokyo.

The 26-year-old from West Bengal is the second reserve behind Sri Lanka’s Elpitiya Badalge Dona Milka Geh for the Asian quota. She, according to PTI, has become eligible to compete from the zone following the cancellation of the 9th Senior Asian Championships, which were to be held from May 29-June 1 in Hangzhou, China, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was very disappointed when I couldn’t achieve the qualifying score during the 2019 World Championship and with the pandemic cancelling all events, I never imagined that I will be able to realise this dream of going to the Olympics,” Pranati told PTI. “I am now waiting for the official communication from the Asian or world body regarding the same.”

Pranati’s long-time coach Minara Begum, who retired from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in 2019, is excited about her ward’s qualification for the Games.

“She retained her ranking points that she had achieved after competing at the Asian event in Mongolia and the world championship in Germany and got the Asian quota after the China event was cancelled,” Begum said. “I am extremely delighted for her.”

After grabbing a bronze at Ulaanbaatar, Pranati was optimistic about the Tokyo Games and pinned her hopes on the 2019 World Championships. “I didn’t do well in beam and it affected my score at world championship. I was heart broken,” said Pranati, who is being trained by SAI coach Lakhan Manohar Sharma for the past two years.

She had totalled 45.832 at the world championships after scoring 14.200 in vault, 11.133 in floor exercise, 10.566 in bar and 9.933 in beam. “I have kept myself fit and kept training during this pandemic even though no events were happening.”

Asked if she was under Target Olympics Scheme (TOPS), Pranati said, “I was for a year and a half till the 2018 Asian Games. Now that I have qualified, I hope I am back in the scheme.” “I want to train hard in the next few months and put up a good show at Olympics,” she signed off.