She took the nation by surprise. We had heard too little about her before the start of this Olympics, although she had won a Bronze Medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and then a Bronze Medal in 2015 at the Asian Championships for Artistic Gymnastics. Both times she was the first Indian gymnast to achieve what she did.
She stands at 4feet 11inches tall and was born in Tripura on August 9th, 1993 (23yo)
Her beginnings like most of our Indian athletes was humble yet determined. Her pupillage was under Bishweshwar Nandi.
The stories of Dipa Karmakar practising on an improvised set of Scooter seats is now a source of inspiration and shows her exemplary determination to strive for excellence. She started her training at Agartala, Tripura which has always been considered as India’s Gymnastics hub. However, using improvised scooter seats and struggling to have a proper diet even when in poverty is a common story for most of the athletes at their SAI centre for Gymnastics.
(More about Tripura’s history with Gymnastics- http://indianexpress.com/sports/rio-2016-olympics/dipa-karmakar-gymnastics-vaults-final-produnova-result-medal-india-tripura-highlights-video-2973652/)
She has pulled off the most dangerous stunt possible in the vault category- ‘The Produnova‘. To simply put it into perspective, she’s only the 5th Gymnast in the entire history of Vault Gymnastics to have successfully pulled off ‘The Produnova’. When top US gymnast Simone Biles, the eventual Gold medallist was asked if she would attempt the Produnova, she said, “I’m not trying to die.” And in a recent interview Karmakar chillingly said, “One wrong move and I could die on the spot.”
This enormous risk is taken by Dipa to compensate for the lack of infrastructure and resources just to compete at the highest level.
Her crowning moment is to have finished 4th, narrowly missing out on medals and ahead of veteran Vaulters in the Rio Summer Olympics 2016. It was heart-break for her as she gave it her all and executed the Produnova and the Tsukahara or the Moon Somersault with ease and finished 0.15 points behind 3rd spot. The 23 year old did remember to promise to come “Stronger and more determined for the next Olympics to win the Gold” at Tokyo.
The gymnastics judges are considering to downgrade the Produnova to discourage gymnasts from trying it which will be a shot in the arm to Dipa. However don’t discount her as she is equally adept at the other vault routines. We haven’t heard the last of her for sure.
She’s an inspiration for many young athletes and we need more such athletes to represent India on the big stage.
Watch out for her at:
- 2017 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships at Montreal, Canada.
- 2018 Gold Coast, Queensland Commonwealth Games.
- 2018 Asian Games at Indonesia.
- 2018-19 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
- 2020 Tokyo Olympics.