Born with flat-feet in Agartala, Tripura, Dipa Karmakar has now many ‘firsts’ to her name but her biggest till date : she is the first and only Indian female gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Karmakar had already put India on the global gymnastics map with a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. At the tender age of 5, she began working in gymnastics at the age of 5 and 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).
Since 2007, Dipa has won 77 medals including 67 golds, in various levels of competitions ranging from state to international and also created history when she progressed to the finals of the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship where she eventually finished fifth.
Dipa 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 has entered into history books becoming India’s first woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics after putting up a strong show at the final qualifying and test event for the Rio Games.
Dipa, who is an Asian Championship bronze medallist, qualified in the artistic gymnastics event for Rio Olympics after collecting 52.698 points in the test event, according to the world gymnastics governing body, FIG’s website on Monday.
Till date, 11 Indian men gymnasts have competed in the Olympics –two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964.
Dipa will also get a chance in the vault, the event in which she picked up two bronze medals in the 2015 Asian Championships and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
In his special series of heroes of North-East India, Sanjeev Srivastava met the young girl who catapulted in to national consciousness and profiles the dream journey of this amazing young athlete from Tripura:
(Sanjeev Srivastava is founder editor of EditPlatter.Com, India’s first intelligent News Curator, and former India Editor of BBC)