It was a phenomenal week for India and its sports history. Gymnast Aruna Budda Reddy added a new chapter when she became India’s first ever World Cup medal winner on Saturday.

“My moment of glory has finally arrived,” an ecstatic Aruna told TOI from Melbourne

No Indian has ever bagged this honour in women’s vaults. Aruna won a bronze at the 2018 World Gymnastics in Melbourne. She finished third with an average score of 13.699. Slovenia’s Tjasa Kysslef won the gold while Australia’s Emily Whitehead clinched the silver with a score of 13.800  and 13.699 in the finals respectively.

Here are a few things to know about the Gymnast who made India proud in World Cup:

  • Born in 1995, India’s first Gymnastics World Cup medallist wasn’t even sure about taking up Gymnastics professionally. She wanted a sport career in Karate instead. Starting out as an aspirant Karate kid, she claimed a black belt in it too.
  • Her father Narayan Reddy – a Chartered Accountant and sports enthusiast – aimed at other routines and enrolled her in an academy in Hyderabad. She was eight back then. He believed that her daughter had the flexibility for gymnastics.

“Every medal I will win is dedicated to my father,” she said.

  • The karateka Aruna is now the backbone of her family. She lives with her mother and is supported by her sister Pavani, who is a qualified company secretary. Her brother-in-law is a civil contractor, who helped in funding her dreams.

Speaking to The Indian Express from Melbourne, Aruna said, “I owe everything to him [father] and if he’d been alive and seen me on the podium today, he’d have been so happy. He was there in my days of struggle, but couldn’t watch me win.”

  • Having noticed the potential in this kid, coaches Swarnalatha and Ravinder at the Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium in Hyderabad, took her in. Swarnalatha’s husband Giriraj trained Aruna but Giriraj, unfortunately, passed away in an accident in 2008.

“I didn’t like gymnastics initially. But he kept saying I’m good at it. Then the gold medals in nationals started coming. I started loving the sport and its movements. After every hard day, there was a medal as a prize,” Aruna said of her father’s influence.

  • Aruna had been since trained under Brij Kishore. She pursuit gymnastics career and claimed medals at three National Games. She later joined the national camp in New Delhi.

  • For the past few years, Aruna has been training alongside Dipa Karmakar, who couldn’t compete at the Worlds due to a knee surgery. Under the guidance of coach Bisweswar Nandi at national camps since 2011, Aruna is following the Olympian’s footstep.

“India knew gymnastics as Dipa. Now there’s Aruna too.”

READ: Dipa Karmakar – The First Indian Woman Gymnast At Olympics, Is Craving For More

Dipa after hearing the news tweeted:

  • Aruna has surpassed Dipa’s mark who finished fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics in women’s vault event.

  • Aruna took part at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, finished 14th in the qualification round at the 2014 Glasgow CWG, sealed a ninth place at the Incheon Asian Games and sixth at the 2017 Asian Championships, but a medal glory always seemed an inevitable dream.

  • World Cup Bronze was Aruna’s first international medal haul, having the best feat so far was at the 2017 Asian Championships vault event.

READ: Inspiring Quotes From Sportswomen We Adore

  • Interestingly, we would be missing another great sportsperson if like her father and sister, Aruna too had shown interest in becoming a chartered accountant. Although, initially it was her backup plan.

  • Now the 22-year-old from the suburbs of Hyderabad bagged bronze at the Worlds, aiming next at the forthcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, scheduled in later 2018, Aruna will be one of India’s medal hopes.

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