Gold medallist Siddharth Pardeshi hopes Diving will get some more attention

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You can easily empathise with Siddharth Pardeshi when he wishes for greater all-round attention to the sport that he so loves, Diving.

A couple of years ago, he was in the news as one of the athletes who were stuck overseas during the Covid-19 induced Lockdown. He was in the FINA Development Centre in Kazan, Russia from March to September 2020. That has become a memory that is receding to his sub-conscious.

On Sunday, the Nashik-born Diver used the 3m Springboard to launch himself to a well-deserved National Games gold medal at the Sardar Patel Aquatics Complex here and to make an appeal to the ecosystem to encourage Indian Diving athletes a bit more. His competition with National Champion, team-mate and training partner H London Singh was close as ever.

“I am happy that I could beat London, who I train with in the Army Sports Institute in Pune. I think luck was in my favour today and I got gold,” he said after topping the competition with 288.40 points. “Yet, I sometimes wish that we get a bit more attention like our friends, the swimmers and other sportspersons, do. Ours is just as difficult a discipline as any.”

Siddharth Pardeshi articulates his thoughts well. “Yes, I do feel bad that Diving gets no space. We would love a bit more attention, a few more competitions both at home and overseas to get better,” he said.

“It is a tough sport. It is complicated. It calls for gymnastic ability, combining physical with mental. The athlete has to understand one’s body and its movements. “

The 25-year-old, who competed in the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta, admitted to having more butterflies in his stomach ahead of the competition today. “It is always a challenge to take the mind off the niggle in the ankle. I was a bit more nervous at the start of the competition but I am glad I pulled it off,” Siddharth Pardeshi said.

A Subedar with the Bombay Engineer Group, Kirkee, Siddharth Pardeshi trained hard once the dates for the National Games were announced three months ago. Nursing a niggle in his ankle, he came off second best to London Singh in the National Championships in Guwahati last month. But his steely determination and neat execution of the diving routines helped him today.

“I was unsure of my technique after the stint in Kazan. And I was worried I would get caught between the techniques I was introduced to in Russia and the technique that I was comfortable with. I am happy that I chose what I was comfortable with and won gold today,” he said, having added this to his collection of 1 gold and 3 bronze won in the 2015 National Games.

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