India’s Dipa Karmakar came up with some good performance in the Artistic Gymnastics event and made a strong case of reaching the vault finals. The 22-year old Tripura girl was also the first Indian to make the cut for the individual vault finals in her debut Olympic Games after finishing 8th in the qualifying round here, she confirmed in the final for the vault, which is scheduled on August 14th, 2016.
What happened at the qualifying round?
- Dipa is currently sixth in vaults and 27th overall and this can change depending on the results of other gymnasts that are performing.
- Her average score after four apparatus was 51.665. After the break down, her vault score was 15.100, score of uneven Bars was 11. 666, she scored 12.866 in balance beam and in floor exercise, she scored 12.033.
- Simone Biles (the US) and Shallon Olsen (Canada), when they scored 16.050 and 14.950 on the vault respectively. The top-8 made the cut for the medal round.
Why Dipa’s performance is special?
- Since the independence of the country, 11 Indian male gymnast have taken part in the Olympics (two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964) but this will be the first for an Indian woman at the Olympics.
- Apart from being the first Indian woman, she will also be an Indian gymnast qualifying for the quadrennial extravaganza after 52 long years.
Giving her stunning performance in the events leading up to the qualifiers, securing a berth to the Olympics was only to be expected.
- Dipa has been listed as the 79th gymnast among individual qualifiers in the list of women’s artistic gymnast who have qualified for the Rio Olympics.
- Dipa had created history by becoming the first woman gymnast to win a medal a bronze in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. She then became the first Indian woman gymnast to feature in the finals of World Championships in November last.
- Since 2007, Dipa Karmakar has won 77 medals including 67 golds, in various levels of competitions, ranging from state to international
- Her first vault, the much difficult Produnova, gave Dipa 15.066 points, the highest among the 14 competitors. But a poor show in the uneven bars took her points down as she collected 11.700, the second worse among the 14 participants.
When did the turning point arrive?
- Dipa’s started practising gymnastics when she was 6 years old. But the Tripura girl did not enter gymnastics by choice.
- She went along with her father, Dulal Karmakar, who is a weightlifting coach and has served half a decade in the Andaman Islands, training athletes.
In 2007 she won at the Junior Nationals in Jalpaiguri which furthered her passion for the sport.
- When she was part of the 2010 Indian gymnastics contingent in the Delhi Commonwealth Games where, as a participant, she saw Ashish Kumar make history by winning India’s first ever gymnastic medals at the games.
- “That’s when I told myself that I will win it for India in Glasgow, four years down the line,” says Dipa.
Where did Dipa find her obstacles?
Tackling the system
- In India, fews sports other than cricket get the recognition they deserve. Athletes are also forced to wrestle a poor system and lack of professionalism to get to the top.
- The government doesn’t offer a lot of support to gymnastics, and Dipa came from humble beginnings. In her first gymnastics competition, Dipa competed without shoes and borrowed an oversized, ill-fitting costume.
- Up until the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, she had been practicing and competing on irregular sized landing mats (10cm as against the norm of 30cm).
- On top of all this, for a long time the Gymnastics Federation of India was unrecognised, affecting practice and funding for the athletes.
- As a child, Dipa is coming with a flat-footed, which is not good for a gymnast. It affects the spring in her jump,”. “That was the hardest part to fix for Dipa, she had to work very, very hard when she was a little kid to get the curve in her feet.”
- Having flat feet makes it difficult to run or walk because of the stress placed on the ankles.
- Dipa had to put in the extra shift to get the curve in her feet, so that she could compete at the highest level.
Who helped shape Dipa’s career?
Dipa’s father Dulal introduced her to gymnastics and got been coached by veteran Bisbeshwar Nandi since.
How has India fared in gymnastics in the Olympics so far?
Dipa Karmakar is an Indian artistic gymnast of Bengali ethnicity from Agartala, Tripura who represents India at the international circuit.
Till date, 11 Indian male gymnasts have competed in the Olympics – two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964.
- 2 at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
- 3 at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
- 6 at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics