New Delhi: Commonwealth and Asian Games medallist Ashish Kumar is hopeful that gymnastics can fetch India three medals in this edition of CWG in Glasgow starting Wednesday.
Ashish, who bagged silver and a bronze in the men`s floor exercises and vault in the 2010 CWG in Delhi, hopes to convert those into gold when he takes to the floor in Scotland.
"In the events that got me silver and a bronze respectively, I will try to convert them into two gold medals. And Dipa Karmakar is also a medal hopeful in the womens draw. So, in total, my assessment would be three medals from gymnastics. But you never know in sport," Ashish told PTI on the eve of his departure.
Ashish, who won India their first gymnastic medal in Delhi CWG, rues the lack of international exposure for the national team in the run-up to this edition.
"We just got International exposure in the form of Commonwealth Gymnastic Championship in Perth this year where we bagged 3 gold, 3 silver and a bronze. We got a tournament in 2013 but half the year we were idle. 2012 was a blank in terms of a tournament and no camp as well.
"So after the 2010 Asian and CWG medals we have been lying low because of lack of opportunities. Are confidence did take a hit because of all these things but still we are hopeful," said a disappointed Ashish.
The 23-year-old from Allahabad is also upset about the lack of facilities provided to the gymnasts in the last four years or so.
"If I compare our preparations from the last Commonwealth Games in 2010 then I feel that we haven`t got the kind of facilities that we should have got. We have also lacked foreign exposure. Our camps were also conducted after about one-and-a-half years. So our training has been affected but our preparation is good.
"We are trying our best in the ongoing camps to overcome the shortcomings and eye a medal for sure. Though I would still say that had we got a little more time to prepare or our camps would have been held a year back, it would have certainly benefited us. But whatever has happened, has happened, we are just looking ahead, said Ashish.
Ashish is also not happy with the gymnastic squad reaching Glasgow tomorrow as the training is already on from July 14.
"The gymnastics training had started from July 14 in Glasgow and we are being sent tomorrow, so it`s quite late. But once again we just need to build on what we have in hand. No point thinking what could have been done better," said Ashish.
India got a rich haul of 101 medals in the Delhi edition but Glasgow will be different and the athletes know that acclimatisation will be key.
"Home and away conditions matter a lot. Scotland will ofcourse be different. But we will be there a week before our event kicks off, so I guess there will be time to acclimatise.
"Though I still feel that we could have been there a lot more earlier to get more acclimatised and at ease with the whole set up in Glasgow. The better we adopt to the weather, the gym, the training hall the better will be for us to perform," the gymnast said.
On the question of gymnasts not getting their due as compared to athletes from other sports like ace star shooter Abhinav Bindra, Ashish was not shy to hide his disappointment. The gymnast said that "give the sport its due" and it will reward the nation with many medals.
"Of course it hurts not to be as popular as say an Abhinav Bindra. Look there is a world of difference between his sport and our sport. So if there is an upcoming sport in India - like gymnastic - which is giving you a medal, it should get recognition and help from all quarters.
"Nobody highlights our achievements so we our not getting due recognition for sure. And take my point that if Gymnastic gets its due in India it will turn out to be a sport which will get the nation the maximum medals in the CWG and Asian Games," concluded Ashish.