Promising Satyajit Mondal could be the proverbial ‘dark horse’ in the gymnastics arena of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
For Satyajit, gymnastics runs in the blood. His father Haripada performed the sport at a local level and his uncle Partha became an international gymnast and competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Now, Satyajit — hailing from Jaynagar Majilpur, a small town that has produced several National and international gymnasts (including Gobinda Pramanik, Kaushik Kazi, Partha and Pranati Das) primarily from the Srijani Sangha club, in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal — wants to stand on the Commonwealth Games podium.
Satyajit, who began learning the early lessons of gymnastics from Partha and then from coach Nemai Kanji at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre here, got a major boost when he trained under Ashok Mishra in 2016.
“I improved significantly under Ashok Sir. He worked on improving my vault performance, prepared a plan and asked me to follow it. Initially, it was difficult to adjust, but I adapted,” Satyajit told The Hindu.
Satyajit made his international debut in the World Challenge Cup in Osijek, Croatia, last month and performed well to score 13.983 in the final to finish fifth in vault in a competitive field.
The 23-year-old takes heart from his fine showing and looks forward to giving his best in the Commonwealth Games.
“I am working on fine-tuning my landing. I believe I can repeat my performance (using Tsukahara 900 degree turn and Roche vaults) and qualify for the final. If I reach the final, I will try another vault (Drasgulescu) with a higher difficulty level.
Nothing to lose
“The competition will be tough. I watch my prospective opponents’ training on social media and I think I can give them a fight. I have nothing to lose,” said Satyajit.
Mishra, who is also the head coach of the Commonwealth Games-bound Indian side, backs his ward. “Satyajit has a good difficulty level of 5.2 in each of his vaults. If he improves his performance a little bit, then he has the chance to get a medal,” said Mishra.