The sports analyst was the first Indian judge to officiate in the quadrennial in the sport.
Chartered Accountant-turned Sports Analyst, Deepak Kabra, created history in Tokyo Olympics when he became the first Indian gymnastic judge to officiate in the prestigious Games.
A former gymnast, Kabra moved to officiating after he figured out that his sporting career was not going anywhere.
The Surat-born Kabra, who is the chief judge at the 36th National Games at Sama Indoor Stadium, spoke about Indian gymnastics and what needs to be done for the sport to get recognition in the country.
Why did you take to officiating? Was it because you saw that gymnastics is not a career-oriented sport?
A. Yes, as of now, gymnastics is not a career-oriented sport in India. It has to go a very long way to join badminton and or even kabaddi. For youngsters to see some hint of a career in this sport. I took to officiating because I wanted to keep connected with the sport.
How was the experience at the Olympics?
A. There is no doubt that anyone would feel happy to be there as an Indian. People did look at me as if they have not seen anybody from this part of the world to be among them. But, it was all fine, as I was one of the youngest officials at the Games.
What is the need of the hour for this sport?
A. Better coaches and facilities for the budding gymnasts. More importantly icons whom they can look up to.
We did have Dipa Karmakar as an icon but no one after her?
A. They (icons) should come and stay, and not come and go. I don’t blame anyone. Dipa’s Olympic campaign was very good. Finishing fourth in Rio was an achievement in itself. But ironically nobody among the people governing the game capitalised on it.
Your message to all gymnasts?
A. Be artistic in all that you do. Gymnastics is all about an artistic approach and that will make the difference.
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