Choosing gymnastics over wrestling as 10-yr-old, young Tapan ready for his Asiad debut | More sports News – Times of India

KOLKATA: Like many young children, Tapan Mohanty from Puri wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a servitor at Jagannath Temple and used to be a state-level wrestler.

His father, Lokanath, obviously was more than happy when the youngster started to train at an akhada near his house from when he was just seven years old. As his interest grew over time, his father one day took him to the Indoor Stadium in Puri for the wrestling selection trials.
“But once I got there, I saw people doing gymnastics and it caught my attention,” said Mohanty.

The incident made him change his mind as he told his father at the very venue that he wanted to be a gymnast and it was the start of a beautiful journey that will now see him take part in Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8. Incidentally, it will be his first international meet.
“I am thrilled to be taking part in Asian Games. It was 2012 and I was just 10 years old when I started training in gymnastics and this wouldn’t have been possible without the huge support of my coaches — Ashok Mishra and Pradip Sahoo — and my family,” said Mohanty, who made the squad following the selection trials held in Bhubaneswar earlier this month where he earned a total of 74.60 points.
His performance not only helped him grab the third spot in the overall standings but also earned him laurels from his coach as well as the judges, who noted ‘good potential’ beside his name in the final list.
A specialist on still rings, parallel bars and floor exercise, Mohanty is currently undergoing routine training to make sure whatever he is performing looks as clean as possible. “I train three hours in the morning and again three hours in the evening,” added the youngster, who has been training at Gymnastics High Performance Centre in Bhubaneswar from early this year.
While coach Mishra is always there to guide him, Mohanty also takes a lot of inspiration from Rakesh Patra — a seasoned gymnast, also from Odisha, who will be taking part in his fourth Asian Games.
“Rakesh bhiaya is like an older brother to me who always pushes me to do better and work harder. He keeps telling what to do and how to rectify my mistakes. I also try to learn as much as possible from him,” added the 20-year-old gymnast.
Besides Patra and Mohanty, all the other male gymnasts who have been selected for Asiad are also currently training at HPC which was officially inaugurated earlier this week by chief minister Naveen Patnaik. It is a joint initiative with AM/NS India and there are also plans of setting up academies in Puri, Jeypore and Rourkela. While inaugurating the venue, the CM also presented cheques of Rs 10 lakh each to Patra and Mohanty for qualifying for Asian Games.
While these initiatives will help the sport gain popularity, what will make it even better is if any of the Indian gymnasts put on good show at Asiad. It will be very difficult but not impossible.

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