It is not every day that an Indian’s name figures in sports like gymnastics. In a nation that doesn’t boast of world-class athletes with the possible exception of Vikas Gowda in men’s discus throw, woman artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s bronze medal at the recently concluded Asian Gymnastics Championships in Hiroshima is extremely creditable and heartening. Dipa’s achievement comes close on the heels of Indian archers’ memorable performance in the World Archery Championships at Denmark and the nation feels glorified by its athletes bringing laurels in fields, where India is considered laggard. The 6th Senior Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championship was held in the Japanese city of Hiroshima during July 31-August 2, 2015. The event was dominated by Japan and China, who won 13 out of 14 gold medals that were on offer with Hong Kong’s Shek Wai Hung taking the remaining gold in Men’s Vault. Dipa performed brilliantly and she won the bronze in women’s vault while finishing 8th in the Balance Beam event.
Dipa karmakar came into international prominence during 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. She had been a regular competitor at the national level but India’s standing in world gymnastics is not much to talk about. Dipa’s bronze in Vault at Glasgow was the first medal for an Indian woman gymnast and she became the second Indian after Ashish Kumar, who was the first ever Indian gymnast to win silver and bronze medals in two different categories at New Delhi’s 2010 Commonwealth Games. Dipa was fondly mentioned by India’s cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar during a felicitating function for Commonwealth medal winners. This ceremony was held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi by the Indian Sports Ministry to honor the 64 medal winners of 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
In the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon, Dipa missed the bronze as she finished fourth. But Dipa was not disappointed since the gold and silver winners at 2014 Asian Games were also Olympic Games’ gold and silver winners and the bronze was bagged by a woman, who had earlier won a bronze in world championships. Therefore, Dipa’s fourth-place finish was still an achievement. During the 35th National Games at Kerala in February 2015, Dipa Karmakar represented Tripura and won 5 gymnastic gold medals for her state.
In the Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championship at Hiroshima, Dipa Karmakar and Pranati Das represented India in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics while Ashish Kumar and Rakesh Patra took part in the men’s events. Although Ashish Kumar and Rakesh were completely overshadowed by Japanese and Chinese gymnasts, Dipa held her own in vault and finished 7th in the overall standings. The other Indian woman, Pranati Das couldn’t make her presence felt and finished 16th with 12.550 points. The 22-year old Dipa, who hails from Agartala, fought against the Chinese and Japanese gymnasts in Vault. China’s Yan Wang successfully defended her title with 14.988 points while Japan’s Sae Miyakawa took the silver with 14.812 points. Dipa was a close third and took the bronze medal with 14.725 points. Dipa also finished 8th in the Balance Beam event with 12.475 points.