Ashish Kumar has reached where no other Indian gymnast has gone before. With a silver medal in the vault, he gave the local crowd at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex something to shout about for the second successive day.After a bronze in the floor exercises on Thursday, he wrote a chapter for himself in the history annals of Indian gymnastics.But he will be left thinking of what might have been.Leading the field of eight gymnasts going into the last of his two attempts, after a display worth 16.150 points, the gold medal seemed within his grasp.But the lad from Allahabad gained more height than expected in his take-off and had to lean forward and put his hands on the landing area to keep his balance.The discrepancy brought his score from the second attempt down to 14.475, taking his average score down to 15.312.Ashish, thus, had to settle for silver behind England’s Luke Folwell (15.762) while Ian Galvan of Canada (15.037) clinched the bronze medal.Ashish had led the field in the qualification stage and was the favourite to take top honours. His first attempt only solidified his claim. With a tsukuhara and 2-1/ 2 salto with pike, he brought the house down. A degree of difficulty of 7 and execution of 9.150 speaks about his performance.But the 6.6 degree of difficulty and 8.175 execution in the roche hand spin put paid to his chances of a gold.Ashish, himself, was in a bittersweet mood after the event.”I would treat it as a gold medal missed,” he said.advertisementBut foreign coach Vladimir Chertkov had more positive feelings.”I think this is the beginning of a great chapter in the history of Indian gymnastics,” the Russianturned- American said.”What Ashish and the other gymnasts have achieved in a year, take four to eight years in other countries.This will give a boost to the sport in India and open some minds to the possibilities.”We had some bad luck at this Games that two of our gymnasts got injured. But they are all mature now and all the other teams now treat us with respect,” Chertkov said.Ashish said he had his sights firmly set on the yellow metal.”I was going for gold and the crowd support really helped. After winning the bronze yesterday, I had no pressure today. But I gained more height in the second attempt and that created a problem in the landing,” he explained.However, the two medals seem just rewards for the years of practice starting at 4.30 every morning.”I used to spoil everybody’s sleep in my house, but no one complained. When I used to leave home, everybody else in the world seemed to be in deep slumber,” Ashish recollected.Missing the upcoming world championships in Rotterdam, however, is a sore point with the gymnast as well as Chertkov.”I am disappointed that I will not be participating there. I would have competed against the best gymnasts in the field and would have had nothing to lose,” Ashish rued.Chertkov used stronger language to denounce the decision of the Gymnastics Federation of India not to send its team.”It’s the biggest act of stupidity, unbelievable nonsense,” he exclaimed. “Moreover, we will have to pay a penalty for not participating, and the amount is bigger than what it would have cost us to send the team,” the coach said.