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I have not changed a bit after Rio Olympics qualification: Dipa Karmakar

Kolkata: She may be hogging the limelight after becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics, but Dipa Karmakar says she has not changed a bit and happy that people have started recognising the sport.

Dipa Karmakar. Pic/PTI
Dipa Karmakar. Pic/PTI

"I've not changed a bit after my Olympic qualification, but I'm happy that people have started recognising gymnastics finally," Dipa said at her felicitation by Calcutta Sports Journalists Club's 'Coal India Annual Awards' here today.

There's has been an outpouring of congratulatory messages ranging from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar but Dipa said her feet were grounded and her focus is to "polish" her scores with less than 100 days to go for Rio.

The SAI has announced Rs 1.10 crores for her training in the build up to the Olympics with RS 80 lakh on apparatus and the rest in foreign exposure, her coach Bishweshwar Nandi said.

"Dipa will choose between two events -- in Turkey and Singapore -- in June for her build up event ahead of Rio. There's no shortage of support for her, even Rahul Dravid (of GoSports Foundation) has extended full support," Nandi added, The coach further said that the focus is now to polish her first landing score of 15,04 so that it betters her medal opportunity.

Her choice of vault -- Produnova -- has the risk of fatal spinal injuries as very few gymnasts has attempted that but the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist is relishing the challenge.

"Every success involves risk and I'm not afraid of taking risk. I believe in hard practice and my coach (Bishweshwar Nandi). I'm just following him. My coach doesn't let me take any pressure," Dipa said.

"We need full fledged centres, only three four till now. The more centre come up the more popular gymnastics would become."

Later, national carrier Air India too felicitated Dipa Karmakar. Air India Regional Director (East) A Rane lauded her achievement and wished her all success for the Rio Olympics. Dipa was given a citation, a memento and a bouquet on behalf of Air India.

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