Panaji: During his school days, Abhijit Nimbalkar would bounce around various grounds playing multiple sports as he had little interest in academics. His father, a Havaldar in the Indian Army who also doubled as a farmer, tried everything from sending his son to a Military School and pulling him out of there when he did not focus on studies.
But Nimbalkar had no intention of letting his focus shift from a career in sports. His father’s last effort to “punish him” by sending him to a hostel in Pune to study, introduced the sports-crazy boy to trampoline gymnastics and rest as they say is history.
Nimbalkar would head to Goa this week for the 37th National Games determined to clinch a gold medal in Trampoline Gymnastics, having secured a bronze in the last edition in Gujarat last year.
“I wasn’t content with my performance in Gujarat. I knew I could do better. I’ve worked tirelessly to prepare myself both mentally and physically for the National Games in Goa. I’m determined to change the colour of my medal,” said Nimbalkar, who has been training in Pune for the Games and will be representing Services in the competition.
When asked about how he got introduced to trampoline, Nimbalkar said he excelled in horse riding and football when he was studying in the Military School but his father moved him to a hostel in Pune where gymnastics was the only sport played.
He secured his first gymnastics medal in the Artistic State Championship in Amravati in 2008. “Winning that medal gave me the confidence to pursue gymnastics as a future career. I began to take this sport very seriously, and it has since become my passion.”
Nimbalkar, who had represented Goa in the last National Games, attributes his deep fascination with the trampoline to its unique aerial jumps and entertaining techniques. Prior to a competition, he concentrates on his breathing to maintain composure and meditates to calm his heightened heart rate.
He will be looking to find that peace at the Peddem Indoor Sports Complex and soar higher.