Dipa Karmakar made India a thousand times proud when she flung herself and did the Produnova vault while representing the country in gymnastics for the first time in Rio Olympics 2016. It is said that getting a Produnova perfect is the most difficult vault to learn in gymnastics and Karmakar is among the five women who have achieved this feat. She got a chance to meet the biggest name in gymnastics in the world, Nadia Comaneci. Comaneci was in the country for an award show where Dipa was to be felicitated, too.
The 23-year-old is giving herself this year to strengthen her sport and then come back in 2018 to compete internationally. This year, she will only practise her vaults and probably learn a new vault too – the Handspring Rudi.
“The new vault means if she’s perfect, the deductions will be very less and she can score even higher than the Produnova. So we wanted that option, because now the target is only an Olympic medal. If the landing on the Produnova improves, we’ll keep it, but chances are it’ll be the Handspring-540 from now on,” coach Bisweswar Nandi said. Dipa came fourth in Olympics last year but she won bronze in the Commonwealth Games that was held in Glasgow.
Comaneci had quite a chat with Dipa and about her choice of vaults, she said, “Yes, the downgrade of the Produnova won’t be fair on Dipa because she’s worked hard on that one, but I think she’s capable of doing other vaults – much better,” Comaneci stressed, adding, “She’s a vaulter, she’s got speed, it’s her event and I think she will figure out something that’s good for her. She’s a good tumbler and a leg person.”
She praised Dipa for putting in her efforts. “I first heard the rumour that a gymnast from India was doing a difficult vault, and saw it on tape. At Rio, I watched with muscles tight from fear and sitting frozen and not breathing. Now the double somersault is a difficult vault for guys but their table is high and gives them a little more time to do more flips. For women, you gotta be a little quicker, because guys have little more space to do the same routine,” Comaneci told the press.
She also talked about the famous vault that Dipa has perfected over the years, the Produnova vault. She said that it is a very difficult vault with very few chances of error. “But it’s difficult for Dipa. You never know, the vault might be slippery, and the margin for error is little. She can’t miss even a little, in other vaults you can miss and still stick it. I would know what she would do soon as she went from board to vault because of my trained eye – know if angle is right way and elbows don’t buckle. Lots of critical details – most important the run, the speed from board to vaulting table and position of arms and body to know if she’d be able to flip,” said Comaneci.
Picture credit- One India