Gymnast Aruna Budda Reddy created history at the Gymnastics World Cup as she won a bronze medal in the women's vault event. The 22-year-old gymnast became the first Indian ever to win a medal at the Gymnastics World Cup.
The 22-year-old Hyderabadi scored 13.649 average points in the vault event to finish behind Slovenian Tjasa Kysslef (13.800) and Australian Emily Whitehead (13.699).
Aruna dedicated her win to her late father, B Narayana Reddy who realised her potential in gymnastics at a young age. When Aruna was five years old, Narayana, a Chartered Accountant, pulled her out of karate and enrolled her in gymnastics when he understood that his daughter had the flexibility and build for a gymnast.
However, in 2010, Narayana Reddy passed away after a cardiac arrest.
Speaking to The Indian Express from Melbourne, Aruna said, "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."
"I didn't like gymnastics initially. But he kept saying I'm good at it. Then the gold medals in nationals started coming. I started loving the sport and its movements. After every hard day, there was a medal as a prize," Aruna said of her father's influence.
According to the Times of India, Narayana Reddy enrolled Aruna under the tutelage of coaches Swarnalatha and Ravinder at the Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium in Hyderabad.
Swarnalatha's husband Giriraj took Aruna under his wings after noticing her talent. Giriraj, unfortunately, passed away in an accident in 2008 and Aruna has since been training under coach Brij Kishore with whom she won medals at three National Games.
Aruna participated in the World Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2017 at Antwerp, Nanning and Montreal respectively but failed to progress beyond the qualifying rounds.
In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, Aruna said, "The sad thing about this sport is that once you cross 23-24, it becomes difficult to do gymnastics. The body doesn't remain as flexible. A gymnast's career is short. That's why I want to make the most out of things before I turn 23."
Speaking to the Times of India, Aruna's sister Pavani discussed about her sister's future after retiring and said, "She wants to become a CA but with the busy schedule for the next two years, I don't think it will be possible."
With the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games coming up in 2018, Aruna will be one of India's medal hopes and with gymnasts retiring by the age of 25 on average, the 22-year-old will aim to make the most of her time.
Updated Date: Feb 25, 2018 18:42 PM