Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian woman to qualify in the individual Vault finals in the Rio Olympics 2016. Dipa finished eighth in the competition. Her entry into Olympics ended India’s 52-year-long wait of having a gymnast at the Olympic games with the last appearance dating back to 1964. The journey of this history-maker had its share of ups and downs.
Here we look twelve unknown things about India’s latest sporting icon, Dipa Karmakar.
1) Early start :
Dipa Karmakar was just six years-old when she started practising gymnastics in the city of Agartala in Tripura where Dipa was born. Dipa was coached by veteran Bisbeshwar Nandi, who has been her coach since.
2) Dipa overcame postural deformity :
Dipa Karmakar’s coach revealed that the athlete suffered from a postural deformity called flat feet when she first came to train under him. According to Nandi, it is a condition that reportedly affects the spring in an athlete’s jump. Nandi recalls how Dipa had to put in the extra shift to get the curve in her feet so that she could compete at the highest level.
3) Victory in Junior National Championships :
Dipa who started practising gymnastics at the age of six said she wasn’t very interested in the sport and only pursued it as her father who was a coach at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) wanted her to do so. But after tasting victory in the 2007 National Championships, Dipa developed a love for the game and the rest they say is history.
4) Dipa had no equipment to train :
Dipa Karmakar had no equipment to train with for over eight months when she relied just on personal training to prepare herself for the 2014 Commonwealth games. However, the scenario changed and the Federation arranged for a two-month camp for the gymnasts to train. Coach Nandi credits the camp for her achievement in Hiroshima.
5) Milestone in Japan:
Dipa’s bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games was the first by any Indian woman gymnast. She was also just the second Indian to claim a Commonwealth games medal in gymnastics. Later she also became the first Indian woman gymnast to appear in the World Championship in Glasgow.
6) Highest score in the world in Produnova Vault:
In 2015, Karmakar logged the highest score on a Produnova in the world with a tally of 15.100 that includes 7.00 for difficulty, 8.1 for execution and 0.1 for a penalty. Only two others competed in the Produnova, namely, Yamilet Pena of Dominican Republic and Fadva Mahmoud of Egypt.
7) Dipa Karmakar has won 77 medals in total in her career:
Dipa’s tally of 77 medals that includes 67 gold medals is inclusive of all the silverware she won in the state, national and international championship. Dipa won the Junior National Championship as a 14-year-old- in Jalpaiguri.
8) Obedient but short on temper:
By her own admission, Dipa Karmakar has moments where she loses her cool, often at times of disagreement with her coach. That’s a time when she goes into a mode of disobedience towards her coach, but otherwise, obeys each and every word that her coach asks of her.
9) Dipa trains for seven hours a day:
Dipa Karmakar revealed to Firstpost that she used to train for a total of seven hours while preparing for the World Championships in 2015. Dipa trained in two shifts, from 9 am – 12: 30 pm and 5 – 8:30 pm every day.
10) Olympic Qualification test event :
After failing to clinch an Olympic berth, through the World Championship where she finished outside the podium, Dipa was earlier put as the second reserve for the Olympic Test event in Rio but was informed last month that she had sneaked into the shortlist of participants. Sometimes destiny comes up with a few special scripts in sports.
11) She has flat feet :
Dipa practised gymnast even after having flat feet. The flat feet became one of the biggest obstacles in her journey as an athlete and she worked really hard to get the curve on her feet.
12) Chose gymnastic over education:
She was enrolled in a Bangla school so that she could pursue gymnast as other English medium schools in the region were very strict with their attendance policy.