Nayak won a bronze in women’s vault at the 2019 Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Mongolia. It was India’s only medal from the event.
Pranati Nayak is the only Indian gymnast at Tokyo Olympics. With many tournaments being canceled she qualified through the continental quota. This is her Olympic debutante and will carry the legacy of Dipa Karmakar ahead.
Nayak, a simple girl from Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal dreamed of the Olympics from the time she learned about it. Her journey from her village to Tokyo is one that will inspire many young talents in the country.
Mastering The Sport
Truly a remarkable athlete Nayak won a bronze in women’s vault at the 2019 Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Mongolia. It was India’s only medal from the event. Nayak has also mastered all four categories in gymnastics- Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, and Floor Exercise. “I started gymnastics thinking it was like yoga (chuckles). I used to practice in my village, and do the chakrasana,” said Nayak.
Her Unknown Journey Eight years old, Nayak was rejected by the coaches of the Sports Authority of India’s Kolkata facility deeming her as underweight and ‘too thin’ to pursue gymnastics. They also denied her a place in the SAI hostel. However, that did not deter her spirits. Her parents rented a small place in Kolkata and they would alternatively stay with her. The journey thereafter was not smooth either. Staying in a city like Kolkata has doubled the expenses of the family.
Nayak’s father was a state bus driver till 2017 and had to support a family of five. She often travelled for hours to come to Kolkata for her training Advertisement The young athlete is grateful that her parents supported her far beyond their capabilities. She feels now it’s time for her to take care of them. The pressure of the entire country’s expectations is not lost on her but she is determined to survive with the support she has around her. In the end, she wishes to go back home with a medal in her hand.