In Perfect RHYTHM with body, mind and soul~ Meghana Reddy Gundlapally

Rhythmic gymnastics is the only sport played exclusively by women. Champion rhythmic gymnast Meghana Reddy tells us that the exercise is an amazing combination of sport, art and dance

The Womenz Bureau is proud to present an exclusive interview with  Meghana Reddy Gundlapally and here’s what she shared with us


Tell us about your childhood background and what stage as a young girl were you attracted to rhythmic gymnastics?

I started rhythmic gymnastics (RG) at the age of 11 years . At first I was doing general gymnastics only to improve my flexibility and strength. Since I was too old for artistic gymnastics my coach suggested that I do RG. But it was only after seeing the gymnasts represent their country so proudly at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games that I decided that I wanted to continue this sport professionally. 

How was your family’s reaction when you told them about your desire to become a rhythmic gymnast?

My parents have been very supportive of me picking this sport and pursuing it professionally. Right from the beginning they ensured that I received the best of the training possible.


Where did you receive your professional training and who trained you?

My first professional training was in the US for 6 months under a Bulgarian coach named Dani. After that I lived in London for two years where I received training under a Russian coach, Kristina Ondon. My most recent coach is a 2016 Rio Olympian and a Greek national champion Varvara Filiou, with whom I have been training for the past 10 months. In-between I also received training in Uzbekistan and at the Olympic training centre in Moscow. In India I initially started with Brij Kishore Sir in Hyderabad, later Varsha Upadhye from Mumbai in 2011. And more recently with Krupali Patel Singh from Jammu & Kashmir. 




How long did it take you to master the sport?

I have been playing this game for almost 8 years now and every year my performances have been improving, so I believe that there is no one benchmark or a point where I can say that yes I  have mastered the sport , and it’s just not with RG but any sport you pick. One is constantly improving their game skill.


It is an amazing combination of sport and arts. Please comment.

Other than synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnasts is the only sport that is played exclusively by women, and it’s not just that but you take every aspect of it, and it shows the perfect combination of sport and art  –  from our costumes, our make-up and even our routines are set to the tempo of music. It is an amazing combination of sport, art and dance, something that is not often seen.


What are some of the physical and spiritual benefits of the sport?

One of the physical benefits would obviously be that it keeps you fit and in shape always.

Since this sport is started at the young ages of 3 and 4 it teaches kids amazing hand and eye coordination and also team work (for group events). But what I learnt the most from this game was life skills. Competing in different countries and meeting so many people from all over the world , it gave me confidence to go and live anywhere in the world, and not just to live but to be confident about who I am and do what I love.




Which are some of the apparatus you use in the competitive sport?

There are a total of 5 apparatus but in each Olympic cycle we use only 4 apparatus.

In the Olympic cycle they are hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon. The fifth apparatus is the rope which is not there in this Olympic cycle.


How do you manage to execute the extremely difficult manoeuvres?

I believe that there is no such thing as an extremely difficult element (manoeuvre), the more you practise each element the easier it gets over time. The elements I used to find difficult when I first started I could do them even in my sleep now, due to muscle memory and the number of times I have done each element.


What are some of the risks involved when throwing up the apparatus when doing leaps?

As long as you throw the apparatus correctly there is no real risk involved since it will come back down in the same spot every time, but when the apparatus is not thrown correctly there is a chance that it might come and hit you either on your face or leg or hand. Sometimes if you don’t do your elements correctly there is a high chance of injuring your leg.



As a woman, what challenges did you face to become a rhythmic gymnast, and how did you overcome them?

As a woman I was never really discriminated, since this is a women-oriented sport. But as a rhythmic gymnast as a whole it was harder to get the right training and to be able to participate in international event as this sport is fairly new in India. 


How important is physical fitness, and what is your own daily regime to keep yourself fit for the sport?

Without physical fitness it is really hard to be able perform all the required elements. One of the most important parts in RG is ballet, which has to be done every day. Other than this endurance and strength exercise are also an important part of my daily routine.


Who are some of the famous figures in rhythmic gymnastics you consider as your icons?

Two of my biggest icons is Margarita Mamun from Russia who was a Gold medalist at Rio 2016 and my Coach Varvara Filiou from Greece who is also a Rio Olympian.




What is the highest point you would like to achieve in rhythmic gymnastics?

My main goal is to win not just one but 5 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.


What is your advice to fellow women who want to become rhythmic gymnasts?

Most people see rhythmic gymnasts and think that it is easy because all they see is the twirling of the ribbon and dancing to music, but as the saying goes never judge a book by its cover, cause even though it might look easy it is one of the most difficult sports of all, while having the grace and glamour not seen in any other sports.

 



We at The Womenz express our earnest appreciation for sharing your story with us. We believe it will surely stimulate fellow women in every country and continent in the world. 


Meghana can be reached on Linked-in, instagram, twitter and Facebook 


First Published: 28-Jun-2018- 16:39


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