The last time Indian gymnasts shone at the Summer Games was 52 years ago. It took a young, energetic and graceful 22-year-old to to put the spotlight on a sport for India that we had never thought we even participated in. Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and also became the first woman gymnast ever to qualify for event at the Olympic games.
“It really is heartening to see the number of female athletes increase in strength. Having Dipa Karmakar becoming the first woman gymnast to qualify is inspiring. What gives you even more hope in Rio in 2016 is the fact that we are now confident on performing on the biggest stage,” says Suhail Chandhok, sport expert.
We caught the Tripura girl swinging her amazing moves at the world stage, but as we move into 2017, here are few things you should definitely know about her:
- Dipa is in the gymnastic form since the age of six. Born with flat feet, which were a barrier for her to go ahead in the sport but the determined sportswoman trained and fought valiantly to overcome that challenge. As she became 14, Dipa won the Junior Nationals held in Jalpaiguri.
- She showed strong performance at the Final Qualifier and Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro, when she garnered 15.0666 points in her first vault, the Produnova in April. She stood as the highest amongst the other fourteen competitors.
- The Arjuna Awardee Dipa is only the fifth gymnast in history who successfully landed/majored the the ‘vault of death’ — the Produnova.
- However, this is not the first time Dipa has scripted history. Earlier she clinched a bronze in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, to become the first Indian woman gymnast to win a medal.
- The same year, she won bronze at the Asian Championships in Hiroshima.
- The year 2015 appeared as a win win for this daughter of a weightlifting coach as Dipa won back-to-back, picking five gold medals at the National Games in Kerala – in individual all-round, table vault, balancing beam, uneven parallel bars and floor exercises and named one of the top medal winners at the event. She also reached the final round of the 2015 World Championships and finished fifth.
- Same year, she notched up a bronze medal at the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Japan.
- Till now, including state, national and international championships, Dipa has brought 77 medals including 67 gold back home.
- Dipa Karmakar has had only one coach–Bisbeshwar Nandi.
- This year in October, Dipa returned her BMW, which was awarded to her for her performance at this year’s Rio Olympics because she wanted to get the money instead and use it all for her training.
Indeed, Dipa Karmakar is one of the country’s best sportswomen and 2016 has been a great year of getting to know her.
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