Image Credits: FISTO STAFF
Delhi’s hat-trick of All-Around medallist in last year’s Khelo India Youth Games, Tushar Kalyan calls himself "unbreakable".
Gymnastics is one of the most beautiful and dynamic sports in the world. This smart and intelligent young gentleman who hails from New Delhi lives his life doing what he does best… Gymnastics! Gymnastics! Gymnastics!
At age eighteen (18), he seems to have his life running in the exact course he described as his divine purpose. Tushar Kalyan said he finds gymnastics a form of freedom, is inspired by Japanese gymnast Kenzo Shirai. And he’s continuing to find joy in gymnastics.
Tushar Kalyan became the only one to complete a hat-trick of All-Around medals in last year’s Khelo India Games when he moved up a rung from last year to take the silver, stopping an Uttar Pradesh 1-2 in the event. He had won bronze in the Khelo India School Games in Delhi in 2018.
The Guru Harkrishan Public School student opens up about his formative years, daily life, the future, and the many lessons gymnastics has taught him.
First of all, how did it all start? Take us through your path to gymnastics.
I was hooked to gymnastics from early age and gymnastics being one of the No. 1 sport of my school at that point of time stimulated my interest towards gymnastics more than any other sport. I started gymnastics when I was 10 years old.
From the beginning, I have watched my school seniors in the ground playing either cricket, football, or gymnastic and I was greatly influenced by the sports in general in life and always wanted to continue in sports, therefore, picking up a sport at a young age became a very natural choice for me. Moreover, few of my best seniors from sports joined gymnastics and they become my guiding light in pursuing a career in sports.
At what point did it sink in that you could be really good at gymnastics?
When people started recognizing my talent. As we all want people to recognize us for our hard work, drive, and talent. Little by little you chip away and break the mold of what people want to put you in. That’s when I realised that I could make an actual career out of something that until then I had been doing because I loved the sport.
Who is your favourite gymnast and why?
My favourite gymnast is Japanese artistic gymnast Kenzo Shirai. I love his routines, style, and artistry portion of an athlete’s score, which also includes execution, technique and composition. He is a professional apparatus in floor exercise and vaulting table which is one of my favourites as well.
What gymnast did you want to model yourself after when you were growing up?
As I said Kenzo Shirai is one of my favourite gymnasts so whenever I compete at the international level, I want to represent myself like him.
I think it is a very common thing to happen with almost every athlete when they practice for the competitions. And they do a lot of hard work and when they don’t get the desired results, instead of figuring out what went wrong and work more harder some might decide to give up so easily but what I feel they need is to meet a psychiatrist and partake in a counselling session would do a massive boost to their career.
But it kind of always gave me this perspective of I love everything but I love gymnastics more. And so whenever I was at gymnastics practice I focused more than any other activity and gave more effort there because I knew that was my favourite.
Competing at such a young age, how did you juggle studies with sport?
Yes, managing both studies and sports is the harder thing to do because education should also be given equal importance as well as in sports. In my case, when I am not practising at the academy, I will go up & down from my home after school. At 3 pm, I come back from school and quickly go to the stadium. It normally takes around half-an-hour away from my home to the stadium. And I need to get out of my house at 3:30 pm to report back to my coach. I find it difficult managing your academics and sports both can be a difficult task but at the same time, it is extremely important to get the right amount of balance and work to grow as a professional.
What was your first medal in any form of gymnastics?
I got my first medal at “Delhi Talent competition” and I got some cash prize as well.
Where do you train now and who is your coach now?
I am training at Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, New Delhi. It is Khelo India Academy and my current coach is Mr. Vishaldeep.
What are your most memorable moments from your events? Any ones that stand out that you remember like they were yesterday?
My most memorable event to date was the first Khelo India School Games, 2018 which held in Delhi. At the time, my ankle was recovering from a fracture and the doctor advised me to take a month rest. And the next month was the competition, which means I couldn’t even able to do my practice.
If you could dance with any celebrity, who would that be and why?
If I get a chance to dance with any celebrity, it will be Lana Condor. She is an American actress. I want to dance with her because I like her in the “To the All the Boys I've Loved Before” film series and she is also one of my favourite actresses.
Many say that gymnastics is not just a sport, but an art form that's what requires athletic ability and flexibility. what do you say about that?
Gymnastics is a sport that includes flexibility, strength, focused, endurance, balance, physical exercise, etc. Just like every sport, you need to start from the beginning so that you would get the nuances of the sport, intelligence skill, and tactical knowledge.
We know that gymnasts are always trying to improve. What are some things you are presently working on?
Like every athlete, you always need to improve yourself in gymnastics. You can’t able to judge one at once. And recently I have been working on is to reduce my deductions and enhance my difficulty scores. I am also trying to increase my all-around score which is the most important thing in gymnastics.
What else do you do? Is there something else that you do that you like to perfect outside of Gymnastics?
If is there something that I love to do perfectly outside of gymnastics is football and formula 1.
What are your favourite and least favourite training sessions?
My most favourite training sessions are in summer seasons because it doesn’t freezy winter or either we say the near of competitions sessions are excellent than the off-competitions sessions.
What are your future plans as far as gymnastics goes?
The process of getting back into the gym was humbling after almost a year on lockdown. Honestly, I just want to improve everything—how do I become more joyful. However, in terms of future plan is to qualify for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and secure a medal for the country.
Your favourite pair of gymnastics shoe ever and what do you wear now?
If you could switch lives with another athlete from a different sport, who would you want to be?