A bit fun of fun (and a lot of talent) cartwheeling down the street led to two kids from India being scouted to train as professional gymnasts.
Mohammad Azajuddin, 12, and 11-year-old Jashika Khan performed some spectacular flips and cartwheels on a dirt road on their way to school.
According to the Telegraph India, it was to impress their dance teacher, who teaches them hip hop and B-boying, a form of street dance.
Little did they know, it would also impress the world over, including Nadia Comaneci. The Olympic gold medallist and gymnast shared the video, which has now garnered almost three million views, on Twitter.
“This is awesome,” Comaneci captioned the video, originally taken by the children’s dance teacher, Shekhar Rao.
Less than a week after it was first shared in late August, the country’s sports minister, Kiren Rijiju, caught wind.
“I’m happy that @nadiacomaneci10 tweeted it! As first gymnast who scared perfect 10.0 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and then, received six more perfect 10s to win three gold medals, it becomes very special,” he tweeted. “I’ve urged to introduce these kids to me.”
Shortly after, Azajuddin and Khan were identified and taken to Sports Authority of India (SAI) for a trial on Wednesday, the Telegraph India reported.
“Yes, I have met the kids,” SAI’s regional director Manmeet Singh Goindi told Insider. “The coaches here too have seen them.”
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“They are certainly talented and have the desire to achieve much. I have spoken to their parents and both sets of parents are keen to enrol the children here.”
The duo from Kolkata are set for life as gymnasts, it seems, with everything from lodging to proper equipment being given to them at their new training facilities.
“They will practise in proper indoor halls,” Goindi said. “No more will they have to jump around on the road and somersault on concrete, risking injuries.”
Speaking to Insider, Rao said not much importance is given to dance in their area.
“They think that it is only through academics that they can earn a living,” he said. “But I train these boys and girls because they are talented.”
It’s clearly been a whirlwind few weeks for the pre-teens, who went from school kids to superstars seemingly overnight.
“We improvised some of it on the spot,” Khan told the Telegraph. “Sir gets scared when we do some moves on the road.”
“We had not thought that world-famous gymnast would post our video.”
While it seems they both have a future on the gymnastics floor, Azajuddin will always be busting a move.
“I want to do something to make my dance teacher proud,” he told Asian News International. “If I get a chance to do gymnastics in future, I will take it but I will never stop dancing.”