Gymnast Meghana Reddy returns to training after COVID-19 interval

After a long lull, Meghana has resumed training on a makeshift facility in a basketball hall at the Gaudium Sportopia Centre of Excellence.

Meghana Reddy training at the Gaudium school in Hyderabad on Friday. - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

For 21-year-old gymnast G. Meghana Reddy, it is back to business after a long lull in training, albeit on a makeshift facility in a basketball hall at the Gaudium Sportopia Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad. The National Games gold medallist, who was also the only Indian gymnast to qualify for rhythmic gymnastics in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, is back to serious training, thanks to the gesture of Ms. Kirthi Reddy, Director and Founder of the school.

“Yes, it is a great feeling to be back on the mat to first start the routine exercises,” Meghana, who is aiming to peak for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in 2022, said in a chat with Sportstar on Friday.

“Actually, the school is coming up with a world-class gymnastics complex with the latest equipment. Earlier, we had no place to train. Now, once completed, we can always look to it and train when we are in the city,” she said.

“It is never going to be easy, especially for a gymnast to regain the levels of training expected to be good enough to compete after such a long break thanks to lockdown,” she said.

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“Since there is no international calendar as such right now, the focus will be to get back to the kind of form I was in before the lockdown,” she explained.

Online training courses

The B.Com student of Khalsa College in Amritsar has been training and attending online courses conducted by SAI coach Manoj Rana, who also trains Hyderabad-based Aruna Reddy, a World Cup bronze-medallist. “And, it is not just that, I have been able to organise personally online training courses with some reputed coaches from Russia [and the] U.K. also,” she says.

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With mother Praveena - who knows the nuances of the sport better - guiding her, Meghana is gearing up for the bigger challenges. She is apparently disappointed at the Asian Championship being indefinitely postponed. “It will not be the same when it comes to training abroad as it will be more expensive now and as we are self-funded it will be all the more difficult,” the mother pointed out.

For someone who trained earlier under Olympian Varvara Filiou for long, Meghana is disappointed that she cannot afford to plan any more training trips to Europe because of the COVID-19 threat.

Interestingly, the Hyderabad gymnast is also keeping herself busy training young kids in ballet dancing. She is herself a Kuchipudi dancer and was lured into gymnastics by her first coach, the late Brij Kishore. “Hopefully, by this year-end, things should be back to normal for more serious training-cum-exposure trips in the world of sports,” signs off an optimistic Meghana.