Indian gymnast Pranati Nayak has earned a berth at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics via continental quota, becoming the first Indian from the discipline to be eligible for the upcoming mega-event. The only gymnast who qualified for the previous edition of the Olympics, in Rio, was Dipa Karmakar.
After a spirited performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Dipa Karmakar was supposed to better her stand four years later in Tokyo. But, with the cancellation of several tournaments, Indian gymnasts found themselves in a fix to be able to give a shot at qualification for the 2021 Olympics.
However, West Bengal-based gymnast Pranati Nayak qualified for the Games via a continental quota in the All-round event. The 26-year old was the second reserve behind Sri Lanka’s Elpitiya Badalge Dona Milka Geh from the Asian quota but became eligible for the quadrennial event after the 9th Senior Asian Championships, which was supposed to be held from May 1 – June 1, was cancelled.
"I was very disappointed when I couldn't achieve the qualifying score during the 2019 World Championship and with the pandemic cancelling all events, I never imagined that I will be able to realise this dream of going to the Olympics. I am now waiting for the official communication from the Asian or world body regarding the same" said Pranati Nayak, to PTI.
Pranati’s coach Minara Begum was elated after the former’s qualification was confirmed. The Indian athlete claimed a bronze medal at the 2019 Artistic Gymnastic Championships. While, she expected to earn qualification for the Tokyo Games at the 2019 World Championships, Pranati stumbled in the event.
"She retained her ranking points that she had achieved after competing at the Asian event in Mongolia and the world championship in Germany and got the Asian quota after the China event was cancelled. I am extremely delighted for her," said Minara Begum.