Friday, 11 May 2018

This was it. My Journey XXI Commonwealth Games - Gold Coast 2018

Centre Stage Rhythmic Gymnastics - GC208

CWG GC2018 Logo in my
memory lane

Welcome to GC2018
This was it.  XXI Commonwealth games.

I still can't believe that I have finally made it here, and ironically enough The selection trials for these games were held at the same stadium where it had all began for me.  the trials were held in February after which I had almost 2 months before the actual games. I will be sharing about my experiences and my trainings up until the games in my next post but for this one I will be focusing more about my time during the games.

Autographs of all the athletes on
GC2018 wall

Me along with my coach Varvara Filiou arrived in Brisbane on the 6th of April 2018. We were received at the airport by the volunteers.  there was a bus organised for us  from the airport in Brisbane to the games village in Gold Coast but unfortunately this transport was available only for me since my coach did not have an accreditation. We were aware of this before we left from Athens we could not do anything until we arrived in the games village and spoke with the head of the Indian delegation.  We requested the volunteers to help as in any way they could to get a transportation  to the hotel in which my coach was staying. After short wait car was organised for my coach while I took the bus with the other players.  

The first thing I did after getting to the village was find the Indian delegation office and try to get in touch with the people who could help me for the coaches accreditation.  I spoke with them and told my problem they said that they would send a letter to the organizers and would try and help me in any way they could.  after that I went to the accommodation they had given us and met with the rest of the Indian Gymnastics team that had already arrived there couple of days prior.

At the Village 2018 - GC2018
With Borobi 
Today was the first official training that I was going to have it was not in the main stadium (coomera indoor stadium). Varvara had spoken to the coach from New Zealand and had explained about our situation she ask me to talk to her to find out about the training schedule the bus schedules and about anything else that I needed help with. 

The artistic gymnastic team had the competition today so the left early in the morning and my training was in the afternoon so in the morning I went for running and sauna.   before leaving for training I went to the dining hall to Grab myself some lunch and the main dining was pretty big a number of varieties of food.

For training I was in a group with the New Zealand and cyprus team. At training I met all the other teams. They all were also aware of my situation and said that they would help me in any way possible.  Since varvara could not be there with me in the training I took the help of the volunteers and got my routines recorded. After each apparatus I would send the video to varvara and then work on the mistakes she told me.  This was how I was training in the days leading up to the competition. 

Just because Commonwealth games were a big competition I tried not to let that fear or stress get to me. During the training Times I worked with full concentration and determination to get my routine perfectly but when I was not training I also went and had fun. 

Saina Nehwal - Olympic Medalist -
Gold at GC2018 
With Sakshi Malik -
Olympic Medalist - Wrestling
Bronze - CWG 2018
RG lives everywhere we go 
with varvara
I enjoyed the Vibe of the village I enjoyed meeting all of the greatest players of India I enjoyed spending my time with the rest of the gymnastic team exploring the city. 10th April 2018 was my podium training.   

I got the village guest passes for my parents and for varvara so that they would be allowed into the village.   I met with them in the morning and got them inside the village and showed them around. Just before I left for training I showed them where the Indian delegation office was and tried to find out if there was any update on the accreditation for varvara.

At the stadium I started getting ready for my podium training just I did everyday. I did the order of the apparatus just like how it is in the competition.  Hoop,  Ball, Clubs and then Ribbon.

That's the Centre Stage CWG GC2018
The first 3 apparatus were all neat but ribbon, oh the ribbon was always the hardest apparatus for me, and this time was no different  so I had to repeat it again.  The second time around it was a lot better. Once I finished my podium training I talked to the judge from India and got my corrections done. I worked on them before I left back to the village.     

The day had finally come (11th April 2018). 

The competition day. I was in the first group along with Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Nigeria, South Africa, Gibraltar, New Zealand and Singapore. Wales, Canada, Malaysia, Australia and England were in the second group. In the morning I went to meet varvara one last time before the heading to the stadium. She was going to be there in the stadium ,but not next to me, rather in the audience. 

Ready for the Performance
Once again before the competition started we had 10 min of practice time on the carpet. By this time the audience had started to come in, my parents and Varvara were one of the first ones to be here. Once we finished the 10 min podium training I went back to the training arena changed into my leotard and took my hoop. Before I went on the carpet we had to get our apparatus and leotards checked. The previous day the volunteers checked and approved my clubs, ball and hoop. But with hoop I had to add extra tape on it since the weight was not enough. The ribbon also I had a problem. The thing used to connect the ribbon and the stick is usually a metal hook kind of thing that is 7cm but I use thread. And the thread I had was more than 7cm so I told the volunteers that I would set is and get it approved by them the next day. Today morning when I went to meet varvara she changed it but unfortunately it was still to long. Lucky for me the girls from the Cyprus team had extra metal hooks that I borrowed for that day. 

The first Hug
after my performance
with my Coach
My preparation before going on too the carpet had always been the same. First I worked on the routine, second : 10 min before I am supposed to perform I faced the wall closed my eyes and visualised the most perfect routine I knew I could perform and lastly doing the kicks with my legs and jumping in spot. One more thing I usually do is to hit or slap my hands and legs. I do this to help me feel pain. When I am feeling a different kind off pain it is easier for me to keep my body stiff, now I know this must sound a little weird but it helps in a way no one could ever imagine it would.

I was on the phone with Varvara right up until the last moment. And when they announced my name I knew it.  This was what I have dreamed of for the past 8 years. And I finally made it, I was performing at the Commonwealth games. As I entered the entire stadium started to cheer for me and that was something I was not used to. At the world cup and the other competitions I had competed before the audience mostly only cheered for the big names in this sport so seeing a different kind of response from the audience at CWG was less frightful and more motivating . I knew then that it didn't matter which country I came from the audience were here to support me and encourage me .

As I got in to my beginning pose for hoop the entire stadium fell silent. And then my music started playing. There was complete silence for the first few seconds of my routine but as soon as I did my first risk and caught it the crowds started cheering again and this time it continued till the very end of my routine. After I finished I saluted to the judges first and then to the audience and then made my way to the kiss and cry area to wait for my scores. 
Post event for a perfect picture
My fellow contestants and
friends in Group I at
CWG GC2018
Post Event for a picture 
with Varvara
Post Event for a Selfie Time
While I waited they replayed my routine and then showed me. I waved and blew kisses to the crowd just the way I had seen all the big players do. Everything had been the same for the other 3 apparatus from my preparation but going on to the carpet to the enthusiasm of the audience. I had truly enjoyed myself in this competition. This competition was not a perfect one, but the experience and the memories I made during this time were something I would never forget in my entire life. And they would also make one hell of a story.

Greatest Boxer of India - Mary Kom at
 Closing Ceremony
My Family & State Representatives
who were cheering from gallery 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Meghana Gundlapally's Journey @ 8th Senior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships 2016

Setting the Stage for Future

Happy to share that I Official represented India at 8th Senior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships held at Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 8th to 10th May 2016. Planning is the key for any best output, so my preparation for this Game was done in advance with anticipation. 


To prepare for the Asian Championships, I planned to get training at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. We have planned with my coach in India Krupali Madam and mom.  We reached out to Uzbekistan Gymnastics Federation for supporting my training with the support of Indian Embassy and whom we know through Capt.Veeresh Uncle who is our family friend. Tashkent is the closest place for India. Its just about 2.30 hours journey. So, I landed  and I was assigned a coach in Tashkent who was Maya , she is such a beautiful and talented lady who  supported me in everything. She saw my routines and suggested some changes and helped me to practice. Just before the competition, I had to visit India for few days to participate in School Games in Hyderabad between 26-29th April  2016. I was happy that I returned being an overall champion when I left for Tashkent. Its great to have joined our Indian Team when they arrived for the competition. The formalities of Accredition and to submit the required form and CD's were done before the Day.
Meghana : Clubs @ Tashkent

7th May 2016  : Podium Training 

Today was the official podium training. We as Team India was allotted time was 2:40 pm to 3:00 PM. During this time we would get to do our routines on the competition carpet along with music. Maya was busy these few days as she was one of the volunteer in the competition, so she assigned Nasiba an other coach to support,who is also one of the finest ladies I ever met. Since I needed time to warm up and practice my routines before the podium training, Nasiba had asked me to come to the stadium at 12:00 in the noon.

There was an issue of my accreditation card for entry into the stadium. Finally when we realised that it was missing, Maya went to the federation office to get  other one for me. I got to the stadium before the rest of the Indian team ,so since Nasiba asked me to start at 12:00 I did. By the time the rest of the team arrived I was done with my warm up so I greeted them and then went on to do my stretching.

When it was time for the podium training I started with my hoop routine followed by ball,clubs,and then at last I did the ribbon routine. My Hoop and ball were not as good as I hoped it would go but clubs and ribbon were better. We had some extra time so I repeated my ribbon routine. Before finishing off I did all the risks of all my apparatus. Once the podium training was over I went and got my apparatus checked. This is done at every major international competition to make sure that the apparatus are according to the given specifications. I took rest for the rest of the day since my competition was starting the next day .

8th May 2016 : Ball & Hoop 

Meghana : Beginning with Ball Routine
This day there were four groups in total. Group A, B, C & D. I was in the Group B. Today the order was group B followed by group A,D and C. There was group competition followed by the individuals which started at around 3:45 PM therefore Nasiba asked me to come at 1:00. I started with my warm up and stretching followed by my 9 difficulties without the apparatus. After this I did my hoop routine with out music and then my ball routine without music. My start order was Ball and then Hoop. By this time the rest of the Indian team had arrived  as their competition was in group A and D which was after mine.About a half hour before my competition had started I changed into the brand new leotard that I had gotten just the day before. Then I did my ball routine 3 times without music and did all the risks individually. Just 15 min before my turn I started to practice all the elements which were hard for me. When there were only 3 players left I stopped practice and with the help of Nasiba I started to prepare myself to go on to the carpet. This was the mental preparation which included going through my routine in my mind. Nasiba was there with me until it was my turn.  She could not stay with me after that since it had to be an Indian official coach for this competition to send me on to the carpet.

Meghana : Enjoy Hoop @ Tashkent
The routine was all very nice except for one major mistake with my first balance which is PlĂ©nche Balance where I could not hold it. After that I made sure that I thought of every single movement before doing it. After my ball routine I had only 10 more gymnasts before I was on with my hoop routine. I did One full routine of Hoop after which I worked on only my individual elements. Once again when there were only 3 players, Nasiba started to prepare me .The first risk however I did not complete all my rotations and the mixed balance again I was not able to hold. It was not how I wanted to perform but I did and I was not going to sit and worry about it but instead I wanted to make sure that the ribbon and clubs routine were better.
My Scores in Ball :  11.650      Hoop : 11.250

After me there were 3 other Indian team players in 2 other group and also there was an opening ceremony that I had to attend so after I was finished competing for the day I changed my leotard and went and sat with the rest of the team to watch the performances. Before going to meet the rest of the Indian team, I met with Maya and nasiba to ask how my routines were. They told me the corrections I had to work on and told to give my best the next day.

Proud Moment : Being with the Flag

Meghana With Flag @ Opening Ceremony

It was time to send only one player from India for the Opening Ceremony. Ms. Varsha madam (International judge from India ) had asked to send the player who scored the highest from India to go ,which was me. This was the first time that I was playing an international competition representing India and I was going to do so in the opening ceremony as well and I could not have felt prouder. 
Opening Ceremony @ Tashkent
After the opening ceremony mom and my self came back to the hotel, it was pretty late and I was exhausted  so I went to bed almost immediately. 

9th May 2016 : Ribbon & Clubs

On this day the rotation of the groups had changed ,today group B was third which meant that my competition would start a little later than 5:45 PM. So I went to the stadium at 3:00 to start my warm up and just like the previous day I started with basic warm up and then went on to stretching. Before I took my apparatus I did all my elements free hand. 

Meghana : See the Un-Known : Tashkent
Today I was starting my competition with ribbon followed by clubs. So I first started practicing with clubs before moving on to ribbon. A half hour before my competition started I changed into my leotards. Today i was going to wear two of my earlier leotards. A blue one for my ribbon and a black one for my clubs. I have to agree but I was freaking out a little bit by now. And before I knew it I was up, the routine was completely messed up. The first throw had slipped from my hand so I could not complete the rest of it and then my second risk also I did only two rotations when I was supposed to do three. The only good thing was that my mixed balance was counted. I was so disappointed when I finished the routine  but I did not want that to get in the way of my clubs routine. Clubs was my favourite apparatus so I had to make sure that it was the best routine and it was except for the mixed balance again. I was feeling really happy that the competition was over but at the same time I felt that I could have done better. Its all about that 90 Seconds it counts to get the score.  My Scores in Ribbon :  10.050     Clubs : 11.500

10th May 2016 : India - People Choice

Today was the event finals as well as the group finals. Usually only 8 teams qualify for the finals and in group competition there were only 8 teams which meant that the Indian team was competing in the finals. Since I did not come in the top 8 of the individual category I was not qualified, but I did go there to support the Uzbekistan team with whom I had been practicing for the past month.

Moment of Recognition for India :

After the group competition was over we had an official Indian team photo session. Towards the end of the day there was the closing ceremony for which the whole team has to attend. The Indian team coaches and judges thought that since we will not get anything they could skip the same. I was there at the Stadium, but to everyone's suprise I got awarded the people's choice award. I was really surprised as well as proud . It meant that India was finally being recognized. It was great to wrap my first ever international competition with a recognition. Many countries congratulated for my recognisable performance.

My performance has been the best from India so far. To begin I  could get pass gymnasts from Indonesia, Hongkong & Thailand in the lead table. Look to climb the ladder continuously.

Along with the whole Indian team we started from Tashkent on the 11 th of May. It has been an amazing experience for me. This one that taught more  than any of my other competitions. And this time I was going to work on all the mistakes I made so that by my next competition everyone who knows me should be surprised.
Meghana : Preparing for NEXT
Thank you my coaches Krupali madam, Brij Kishore Sir, Maya & Nasiba for your support. Thank you Gymnastics Federation Of India Gymnastics Association of Telangana State (GATS) & Sports authority of Telangana State (SATS) for encouraging me.  IFCI Financial Services LTD for supporting my Training


Friday, 5 February 2016

Breaking the Barriers : My Experience @ FIGIII MTK Budapest Cup - Hungary

Picture Captured by 
Daniel Palhegyi
Here is my post after a long time. I thought of sharing some of the competitions that I attended after my National Games 2015 at Kerala. After participating the National games, it was turn to participate in some international tournaments in 2015.  We had planned for few games and today in this Blog Post I am sharing my experiences at FIG III MTK Cup Budapest, Hungary 7-9th August 2015. 
With Team from Canada, Estonia & Azarbaijan


This was my first ever FIG competition. We started preparing one month before the competition. I got my new routines by Ms.Nami Soeda a coach, from japan who was in india for a training camp in delhi. We invited her to help me in setting these new routines. While we have her here the Gachibowli Stadium got closed, so we started going to the saroonagar stadium. Since the stadium was almost 54 Kms from my place, we planned only one visit in the morning and did routines there.  During the evenings I planned for strength exercises back home.  I had one control training (with the costume) one week before leaving for the competition. This way it helps us to feel the competition and make our adjustments if any. 

We travelled to Budapest via Dubai with a long stop-over. 

Day 1 - Just in Budapest, Hungary
After Day1 Competition with Catherine & Nicole from Canada
As we landed we were received at the budapest airport by the organizers along with the mexican team.  We were taken to the competition arena where we registered ourselves. After that we went to the hotel and checked-in to fresh-up. I went to see they competition arena in the evening. At that time the Ukrainian team were having their podium training. We spent some time at the stadium and returned back to hotel. 

With Head Coach of Ukrain
Day 2: Acclimatization & Podium Training
I had my podium training in the afternoon. We had breakfast in the morning came back to the room and set everything for the podium training. We went early to do warm-up and routine preparation.
I did the podium training with the hungarian team. After lunch we came back and saw the russian world cup team(yana and mamun) and the MTK cup team(arina and dina averina and maria titova)do their podium training.

Today I met the team from the Jasco RG club from Canada (where nami used to train before she came to india). In the evening did practice with the katherin and nicole (from the jasco club -Canada)in the training hall B(extra hall with four more mats for training).  It was good experience to practice and see best of the gymnasts. 

Day 3 - The Day of Competition 
Coach from Ukraine
My Competition was in the evening. We had our lunch and got ready for the competition. I did my warm up and ballet along with katherin and nicole. After the group one started saw the first few performances and then started warming up with the apparatus. I got dressed in to my leotard when the first player of my group started. There were a total of 42 player in the FIGIII MTK Cup and there were two groups of 21 each and I was in the second group. My turn was 6th in the order of 21 people.
When there two more people left to go I stopped practising and closed my eyes and concentrated on how i will be doing my routine. This will help me to rehearse in my mind before the actual performance. 

On the Podium : When I went on the carpet I forgot about everything else and only concentrated on how I will be doing my every move and element. And before I knew  1 minute 30 seconds performance finished with a perfect ball routine. There was no loss of apparatus but there were a few mistakes with the execution and the difficulty. After my routine was over i went over to the side and sat on the couch waiting eagerly for my results. While I was waiting for the results I saw the live performance of Maria Titova (also known as the swan) for the first time ever. It was 11.450 the score that was given to me. I could not believe it. After all the hard work and dedication I had finally reached the first double digit for a the first time by any indian rhythmic gymnast. 

Selfie with Canada Team Coaches
I had to work on the next routine that was hoop. I did the same thing that I did with ball worked on the routines and when there were only two people left I started concentrating on how i should perform the routine.The over all routine was good with one or two small slips of the hoop. The score was 11.300 for Hoop. Mom was so over joyed that she started crying(in joy). The Canada coach who was there thought that mom was upset with my results (since she was crying ) and came over to her to tell that its ok to get a score like that in the first competitions. But it was a great day to remember. 

Day 4 - Two More to Go 
Today was the same as well except I was in the group 1 instead of group 2. I did not know that, but luckily we went to the arena early since i wanted to see the finals of the world cup happening at the same time in Budapest, Hungary. Thats when we saw the new time table given and I did not have as much time for the body preparation. I did get ready on time and also practiced the routine. The first apparatus was ribbon. After the performance the score that I got was 10.750. The second apparatus was clubs and the final event for this competition. I did better preparation than ribbon. This time I got a score of 11.500. 

With Azerbaijan & Canada Gymnasts
Once my competition was over went back to the hotel and got ready for the banquet dinner. The  banquet dinner is held by the host country for all the delegations after the entire competition is over. All the participating countries and gymnasts were present there. I met with the entire Canada team as well as a player from Azerbaijan and Estonia.

Day 5 :  Budapest Visit & Transit to Oslo

That day our flight was in the evening to Oslo, for the next competition at Asker, Norway. So we went to see the city of Budapest in the morning. Its a beautiful city and we enjoyed the breath of fresh air with my result been good.

We never know what kind of experiences that we have, but if we are prepared well and put your 100% of effort, we would definitely win over every situation. After all Sports are not for winning, but to enjoy the spirit of Game. I truly feel and enjoy the game that I love. 

Please do share this post with as many as you know by sharing, liking & commenting. 

I would be writing about my experience at Asker, Norway in my next blog post.