Jashika Khan, 11, and Mohammad Azajuddin, 12, have become India’s next viral sensations after a video of them doing cartwheels with a bag full of books sent social media into a frenzy.
So much so, that their tumbling treat has grabbed the attention of five-time Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci.
Comaneci, became the first ever Olympic gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 - and the youngest all-around Olympic champion ever.
So her praise is high praise indeed:
A changed life
What makes it even more incredible is that Khan and Azajuddin, who hail from the slums of Kolkata, have had no formal training in gymnastics. They performed the stunts as part of a dance routine, improvising on their dance lessons they take from a local institute.
The video was shot by their dance teacher, Shekhar Rao, who then uploaded it on popular social media channels Tik Tok and Facebook in a bid to promote his dance academy.
The cartwheeling children quickly grabbed the attention of all on social media and spread like wildfire, ultimately catching the eye of the Romanian Olympic legend, who sprung to fame in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Following Comaneci’s stamp of appreciation, the young children’s lives have changed forever, as India’s sports minister Kiren Rijiju and the state’s sports minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla reached out to them and their family. Rijiju has also promised to encourage the kids’ gymnastic talents, and has vowed to take care of all financial needs arising for their training.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has also reportedly reached out to Khan and Azajuddin, with one of their regional directors, Manmeet Singh Goindi, speaking highly on their latent talent; and believes they can scale new heights with the right training, diet and facilities.
After the overnight global recognition, Azajuddin is now inclined to quit on his dancing classes to focus on gymnastics, while his partner Jashika Khan is keen to continue on her dance lessons while also sparing time for this new vocation.