Reaching the Final at Rio 2016 Was my Biggest Achievement: Dipa

Reaching the Final at Rio 2016 Was my Biggest Achievement: Dipa

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Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar's biography, The Small Wonder, was launched by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai on Tuesday, 22 January. Hailing from Agartala, Dipa came into the limelight after finishing fourth in the finals of the vault event at the Rio Olympics in 2016. After being bogged down by injuries, the Khel Ratna winner won a gold medal in the vault event of FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Turkey in 2018.

Dipa was the first female gymnast from India to qualify for the final vault event at the Olympics. She missed out on the bronze medal with a score of 15.066. Despite missing a podium finish in Rio, the moment continues to be one of the greatest achievements in her career.

“I was very happy that I had reached the finals. Reaching the finals is a very big thing for any gymnast. Our target was to reach the finals anyhow.”
Dipa Karmakar

Karmakar is only the fifth woman in history to do the Produnova vault. One of the hardest vaults performed in women's artistic gymnastics, the Produnova is an artistic gymnastics vault consisting of a front handspring onto the vaulting horse and two front somersaults off.

“I was doing the Produnova vault. Before the finals, I was the only person doing it. But during the finals, someone else had also done it. I had practiced a lot before the Olympics. In the finals, I wanted to better my prelims’ performance. I wanted to give my best performance.”
Dipa Karmakar

Along with Dipa, her coach Bishweshwar Nandi too gained popularity after Rio 2016. According to Dipa, Nandi has played a very important role in moulding her career in gymnastic. In fact, Nandi is also the co-author of Dipa’s biography.

“My coach also told me to enjoy the moment and compete. Since I qualified for the finals at the eighth position my coach told me there was no way I couldn’t improve. And after that I gave my best and finished fourth.”
Dipa Karmakar

After her heroics in Rio, Dipa’s career saw a downward slope, courtesy injuries, which plagued her in 2017 and a good part of 2018.

“I underwent an ACL (knee) surgery in 2017. The next one year wasn’t that great. I missed a few competitions. Then I made a comeback, winning a gold at the World Cup.”
Dipa Karmakar

Despite a career-threatening injury, Dipa didn’t let her injuries interrupt her career. She credits her coach, whom she fondly calls Nandi sir, and her support staffs, who made sure she never

“It was a difficult period, but I was resilient. My coach Nandi sir always encouraged me saying. I can do it and that I must do it. Physios and the psychologists also helped a lot. They pushed me saying that I must prove I can make a comeback. At the end, the thought of making a comeback encouraged me.”
Dipa Karmakar

In 2016, Dipa was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour of India. It was during the presentation ceremony she met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which according to her was one the highest points of her life.

“The day I was going to receive the Khel Ratna Award, I met PM Modi. He had asked me why I was walking instead of doing somersaults. I was very proud that the Prime Minister had seen my performance.”
Dipa Karmakar

Injury is no more a concern for Dipa. The athlete from Agartala has already set her sight on the World Championships to held in October.

“In gymnastics, girls have four events Vaulting Table, Uneven Bar, Balancing Beam and Floor. I am practising all four of them. I have the World Championships this year where I will participate in all the four events. So, I am focusing mostly on it,” signed off Dipa.

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