Khelo India Youth Games: Gymnast Arik Dey shines

Arik Dey made a mark at the Khelo India Youth Games by bagging three gold and two silver medals in gymnastics.

Arik Dey bagged five medals in various events of gymnastics at Khelo India Youth Games.   -  Special Arrangement

Maharashtra gymnasts made their mark at the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games 2019, winning 18 medals on Monday. One of them was Arik Dey - a personal contribution of three golds and two silvers.

The Kolkata-boy, currently training with Bhagwan Bayaskar in Mumbai at the Indian Navy Sports Centre, Malad is  considered as a future medal prospect for India.

He won boys U-21 artistic gymnastics all-round, pommel horse and horizontal bar, besides second positions in parallel bar and floor exercises. Khelo India is a novel experience for the 20-year-old. “I have never participated in a national competition of such a scale earlier. I have competed in a few international events in 12 years so far, the Games at Balewadi and the excitement all round is a difference experience.”

Born in Kolkata to a football-crazy father Anshu Dey, it is no wonder that Arik turned to sports. Grandmother Rekha Hazara is responsible for him getting into this sport. “I was a naughty child at six years and used to climb the water pipes, balancing my body and jumping over them. One day, my grandma caught me doing some dangerous stunt on the pipes and enrolled me into a gymnastics academy in Kolkata,” he said.

He added: “I quickly developed a passion for the sport and found it quite graceful. My entire focus shifted to the academy training, which was a huge relief for my parents and especially grandma,” he said. Arik’s first big break came in 2013, eight gold medals for Bengal in School Nationals.

Medals and fame started to come early for young Arik. Being part of the Indian team for Children Asian Games in Russia, he bagged a bronze on his international debut. Two years later, he finished fifth in a Junior Asian meet in Tashkent.

The youngster observed: “Indian gymnasts are quite capable of winning medals in the Olympic Games. We need focussed training like they do in Germany and The Netherlands. A foreign coach would also help. India’s former coach, Vladimir Chertkov, had brought some good results,” said Arik, looking to make India proud in future.

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