Rio 2016: Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar dares to dream

Jun 29, 2016, 09:15 IST | Nitin Mujumdar

Nashik: It's a dangerous manoeuvre, with a catastrophe looming large, but Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar is geared up to perform the Produnova vault, a double-frontal vault introduced by Russia's Elena Produnova, once gain at the upcoming Rio Olympics.

India's Dipa Karmakar competes in the vault final during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Pic/Getty Images
India's Dipa Karmakar competes in the vault final during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Pic/Getty Images

The 22-year-old Tripura artistic gymnast created history in April this year, becoming the first woman to qualify for the quadrennial event. Dipa garnered a total score of 52.698 points in the qualifying event and became the first Indian gymnast to represent the nation after 52 years at the global event.

Life has not been milk and honey for Dipa, who is now quite a popular athlete. The Karmakar family live in a modest four-bedroom house in Agartala and Dipa's father Dulal, a Sports Authority of India (SAI) weightlifting coach, had a tough time trying to keep his young and restless daughter occupied.

'Unaware of gymnastics'
"I enrolled Dipa into gymnastics to keep her busy. As a child, she was very restless, so keeping her focussed was the aim. She was not aware what gymnastics was all about when I enrolled her," Dulal told mid-day.

Dipa is also one of only five women, who have tried the Produnova in competition. "Produnova has been performed by very few gymnasts all over world," said Dipa's coach Biswesnar Nandi, who led the Indian gymnastics contingent at the 1982 New Delhi Asiad and represented India 10 times.

The coach shed light on Dipa's training schedule. "Right now Dipa practices in two sessions. The morning session starts at 8:30 am and ends at 12:00 noon while the second begins at 4:45 pm to 8:45 pm," he added.

Her gruelling training sessions notwithstanding, India's favourite gymnast also keeps a strict tab on her diet.

"Dipa's diet consists of non-vegetarian food along with plenty of fruits," Nandi revealed.

However, that doesn't take away the fact that Dipa is quite a foodie and when at home, loves to gorge on Bengali cuisine. "Dipa is very fond of fish and whenever she's home she prefers homemade Bengali food," Dulal quipped.

Dipa has received support from every corner, including an entry into SAI's Target Olympic Podium scheme. And with steady preparation and financial assistance from the government, she is a definite medal prospect at Rio.

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