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