Aruna Reddy: The Hyderabad girl who fulfilled her father’s dream

Feb 24, 2018 is a date which will remain itched in the history of Indian gymnastics. On this day, 22 year old Aruna Reddy created history when she bagged India’s first World Cup medal in Melbourne in the the women’s vault competition. With a score of 13.369 points, she came third behind gymnasts from Slovenia and Australia. But not many know about the hardships the Hyderabadi girl faced on her way to the famous bronze medal.

Born in a middle class household, Aruna’s talent was first spotted by her father at the age of five.
Her father, Narayan Reddy, who worked as a Chartered Accountant, discontinued her from her favourite sport Karate and made her join gymnastics. It was his unparalleled support and guidance which allowed her to pursue gymnastics as a career. Sadly, Narayan Reddy passed away in 2011 due to a cardiac arrest. “I owe everything to him and if he’d been alive and seen me on the podium today, he’d have been so happy. He was there in my days of struggle, but couldn’t watch me win” said a tearful Aruna after her win.

On her path to success, fate was not so kind. She lost her coach Giriraj who passed away in an accident in 2008. She came under the wings of coach Brij Kishore under which she has prospered. Brij Kishore spotted the raw talent in the frail and nervous Aruna and developed a hectic training schedule for her.

Training alongside Dipa Karmakar, she had to increase her performance levels drastically. She had to mature overnight and realise the hardwork she had to make to compete with world class athletes. The two are said to be best friends. Naturally, the senior pro was ecstatic at her achievement. “So proud of you Aruna! Congratulations on your outstanding achievement.”

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The 22 year old has a number of achievements to her name:-

• Represented India at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
• Participated in World Championships in 2014 and 2017 at Nanning and Montreal.
• She received ₹2 crore cash award from the Chief Minister of Telangana, K. Chandrashekar Rao for her bronze medal feat.

With Dipa Karmakar out of the Commonwealth Games due to a knee injury, Aruna Reddy has emerged as India’s brightest prospect in Gymnastics. She too is excited at the chance for a medal in the Gold Coast. “I would like to win a medal for Dipa there”, said the champion.

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