Dipa Karmakar had already put India on the global gymnastics map with a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. But on Sunday she took that achievement and upped it by qualifying for the Rio Olympics thereby becoming the first Indian female gymnast to qualify for the Olympics.
As she readies to go from ‘qualifier’ to ‘medallist’, we highlight ten things about the 22-year-old from Tripura.
-Dipa Karmakar’s father is a weightlifting coach and served half a decade in the Andaman Islands training athletes.
– Dipa Karmakar was nursing a slight ankle injury in Glasgow at the 2014 Commonwealth Games but still scored 15.100 in the vault event to bag a bronze. Before this attempt, she stood eighth.
– Dipa Karmakar began working in gymnastics at the age of 5. 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).
– Dipa Karmakar is one of the few female gymnasts to successfully land the Produnova and get the top score of 15.100 which is a combination of 7.000 for difficulty and 8.100 for execution and 0.100 for penalty. The Produnova involves running full tilt towards the springboard, a jump followed by blocking the hands, swinging the legs into full rotation while in flight for twin somersaults and then a frontal landing with complete balance. If it goes wrong, it can break the spine and the neck.
– Dipa Karmakar had gone eight months without practice before the World Championships owing to lack of a federation. Thereafter she would learn the Tsukahara in three months flat, something her peers had been doing for at least three years.
– As a child, Dipa Karmakar had flat feet which makes her achievements even more commendable. She said in an interview that she had to work extra hard to curver her feet.
– Dipa Karmakar has had only one coach since she took up the sport – veteran Bisbeshwar Nandi.
– Since 2007, Dipa Karmakar has won 77 medals including 67 golds, in various levels of competitions ranging from state to international.
– Dipa Karmakar won the Junior Nationals in Jalpaiguri at the age of 14.
– Dipa Karmakar also created history when she progressed to the finals of the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship where she eventually finished fifth.