Gym­nasts work hard, but don’t have it easy

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Hu­maira An­sari, Sharad Deep and Navneet Singh letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com Gym­nast Kr­isha Ch­heda at Dhar­avi Sports Com­plex.

You could spend hours pick­ing up a cloth nap­kin with your toes or prac­tis­ing som­er­saults, with a break ev­ery three hours. The life of a young gym­nast re­volves around beams, mats and hoops, with no time for Twit­ter or Face­book, movies or par­ties. With few fully equipped gym­nas­tics acad­e­mies, it’s even tougher in In­dia.

In the ‘gap hours’ be­tween ses­sions, in­stead of rest­ing and re­lax­ing tense mus­cles, many end up rush­ing off to school or col­lege, re­turn­ing just in time to re­sume prac­tice in the com­pul­sory sec­ond ses­sion. “Par­ents en­rol chil­dren in gym­nas­tics classes like they en­rol them in a dance or paint­ing class. But only those who are truly pas­sion­ate stick around for more than a year,” says Kshipra Joshi, 22, a for­mer gym­nast who coaches at Dhar­avi Sports Com­plex. “And for them, gym­nas­tics be­comes their life.”

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