New Delhi: Ashish Kumar, who opened a new chapter for Indian Gymnastics by clinching the country's first ever medal in the Asian Games, has now set his sights on making the cut for next year's London Olympics and is confident of qualifying in his very first attempt.

The 20-year-old from Allahabad, who won a silver and bronze in the Commonwealth Games followed by a bronze in the Asian Games, has been training at the Basildon Sporting Village in Essex for the qualifiers beginning with the Tokyo World Championships from October 7 to 16.

"We start training in the morning and continue till 4 in the afternoon. After that there is a one-hour lunch break and then again we are back to training till 7 in the evening," Ashish said, where the four-member Indian men's team is training since July 8.

"After my success at the CWG and Asian Games, I am working hard to win an Olympic medal for the country. Expectations have risen following my success at the CWG and Asian Games but I am only focused on qualifying for the London Games.

"Here at the Basildon Sporting Village, training facilities are top class with a state-of-the-art gymnasium and an Olympic-level swimming pool. We are preparing hard for the World Cups and Olympic qualifiers. World champion Japan will come here in September to train and get acclimatised to the conditions. So overall we are getting the much-needed international exposure," Ashish said.

Along with Ashish, Rakesh Patra, Ikrar Hasan and Alok Ranjan are the other three Indians in the camp which started on July 8 and will go on till August 30.

Before the World Championships in Tokyo, the team will be taking part in the World Cups in Belgium and Slovakia in the next month.

Ashish will have three, including two, direct chances to qualify for London Olympics. The first will be Tokyo Championships (Oct 8-12), where even a bronze will secure him a Games berth.

The other chance will come in January in the form of pre-Olympics at London, where he will have to finish among the top-24.

Even if he fails to qualify from these two events, the young gymnast will get another chance through a wild card. But for that to happen, the Indian Olympic Association will have to recommend his case to the International Olympic Council.

"I am confident of qualifying in my first attempt in Tokyo. That's the easy one and my qualification chances are 100 per cent. I am touching 6.6 (value of 7) on floor and have been doing well (7.0) in vaulting," said Ashish.

Russian-born American coach, Vladimir Chertkov, whose services were retained by the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) despite his outburst against the Indian sports officials during the Guangzhou Asian Games, said, "The Sports Ministry, SAI and GFI are doing all they can to support the athletes.

The team is producing its best at the camp and we are focussing on the qualifiers."

"The Olympic qualifiers in Tokyo is most important but before that the boys will be participating in the World Cups.

Those events will form the basis for tougher challenges to come," added Chertkov.

(Agencies)