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Winning Olympic medal is my target: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar

Agartala: Indian gymnast Deepa Karmakar who had made history recently by becoming the first Indian ever to qualify for the finals of World Gymnastics Championships, returned to her home state Tripura yesterday and expressed that her next target will be to bring laurels for India from the Olympics.

Deepa and her coach Bishweswar Nandi was given a warm welcome by a large number of fans and sports lover at the Agartala airport while hundred other stood throughout the road from the airport to capital.

In the Women's Vault Final of 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, the 22-year-old girl finished fifth in a strong field of eight gymnasts, which included individual all-round champion and last two year's silver medalist in vault, Simone Biles of USA.

The 'Golden Girl' of the state was also felicitated during a small programme organized by the state Tripura Sports Council and state government where Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, giving full-scale praise to Deepa for her splendid success in the recently concluded event in Glasgow city, said the girl would bring more laurels for the nation in the coming years.

Deepa said, 'I am not happy as the result is not up to my expectation but at the same time I am feeling good since I am the first Indian to qualify for the finals of ??World Gymnastics Championships and rose to from seventh to the fifth rank where some 87 countries had participated. I would have been happier if I could get laurel and my next target is to get medal from Olympics.'

As recognition to her success besides cash award of Rs. 20 lakh (15 lakh from the Tripura Cricket Association and5 lakh from the Tripura government), Deepa has been promoted from physical instructor to the sports officer in the Sports Department while her coach Bisweswar Nandi has been promoted to the rank of Deputy Director in the same department.

Mayor of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) Dr. Prafullajit Sinha, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sahid Chowdhury and Secretary to the Sports and Youth Affairs department Samarjit Bhowmik were also present in the programme.

Meanwhile, Deepa's coach viewed that they got very less time for practice and hope that this time the SAI starts the pre-Olympic camp early so that there is enough time for preparation.

'As a coach I am not that happy since I was hoping that Deepa will get laurel but we did not get enough time for practice before the world championship. America, Russia, Scotland and England plan from some three to three-and-a-half years before the event but we got only five months. This time the second vault was very tough but for that we had just two-and-a-half month's time but still the coaches of the eight other nations who were in the final praise me and Deepa for her performance and according to them she is very talented,' said coach Nandi.

'We hoped better but for that more practice is required. This time we hope SAI starts camp very soon so that we can practice and prepare better for the Olympics and get medals,' he added.

In the Commonwealth Games 2014, Karmakar won bronze medal in the same event, becoming the first Indian woman Gymnast to do so. This August, she also won bronze medal at the Hiroshima Asian Championships.

Since 2007, Deepa has won 77 medals including 67 gold.

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