Putting behind a three-year phase of uncertainty hit by two surgeries on the right knee, gymnast B. Aruna Reddy, fresh from her ‘double gold’ in the recent Egypt International meet, is now gunning for a 2023 Olympics berth.

The 26-year Aruna, now training in the national camp in Ambala under the tutelage of Manoj Rana, insists that her age is no barrier, and that in fact, she feels more confident because of the experience.

“Age is no bar even for a gymnast. That is a myth. I feel more experienced, confident and physically and mentally much stronger,” she said.

“Yes, the Olympic qualifiers will begin this year with the World Cup in Egypt this March. Having won two gold in the international meet at the same venue, I am confident of putting up a strong show in the two vault and floor events,” Aruna said in a chat with  Sportstar .

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“The preparations have been really good. Hoping to make it, and if I get the chance to represent the country in the World Cup, I am ready for the challenge,” said Aruna, who incidentally suffered an injury break immediately after the 2018 World Cup bronze in Australia.

“There was a phase during the last three years when I did think it was all over during that three-year turbulent phase when everything looked bleak. That was the time when my coach Rana sir was rock solid behind me,” she said. “The foreign coach Andrei Levit too has been just amazing in giving the right kind of advice,” she added.

“I am also grateful to the Go Sports and the Aurobindo Pharma Foundation for their excellent support taking care of my training and competition expenses,” said Aruna.

“This year is going to be challenging with the Commonwealth and the Asian Games also scheduled. So, there has been a conscious effort to keep improving to return with a medal in the above two prestigious events,” she said.

“Honestly, lockdown helped me a lot thanks to Rana sir, who repeatedly stressed that the long break should only help one focus on individual training. And, that’s exactly what I did to be in the right frame,” Aruna said, the B.Com graduate still searching for a job.