When the 22 year old Dipa Karmakar scored a 52.698 points to qualify for the Rio Olympics back in April little did she know that she will become one of the main contenders for bringing a medal for her country, and the hopes of 1.2 billion will lie on her shoulder. Well that is how it has panned out, when Dipa Karmakar will walk in the stadium attempting to land a perfect Produnova vault the whole country will watch with a bated breath and would be hoping for a Medal.
But the path to Rio was never easy and just like is the case with most athletes in India she had to face a whole lot of problems including lack of proper training equipment’s and lack of international exposure. Speaking of the early struggles her Coach Bisweshwar Nandi says
We initially had no apparatus and had to use our imagination to improvise,”
“For example we stacked eight to 10 crash mats on top of each other to make a vaulting platform. We bought second-hand springs and shock absorbers from discarded scooters, then asked a local carpenter to make some kind of a spring board with the bits.
“So when Dipa first started to vault, she used to jump from this onto a pile of mats”
Dipa was first piece of success came in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, when Karmakar claimed a bronze on the vault, She followed it up by a women’s vault bronze medal at the 6th Senior ART Gymnastics Asian Championships in Hiroshima, Japan. All this was achieved while she was still training on the sub standard equipment, it was only after she qualified for the Rio Olympics that funding started pouring and the federation of Gymnastic got some new training equipment
Dipa who is the one of the only 5 women who have successfully completed Produnova vault in competition. Produnova is The vault consists of a front handspring and two front sommersaults. The vault currently has a 7.0 D-score, and is one of the hardest vaults being done today in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. And thus it’s natural that the expectation is high from her .
Speaking of her own expectation she said
“I don’t want to jinx myself by setting sights on a medal but I would be hugely disappointed if I did not at least make the vault final,” said Karmakar, who will celebrate her 23rd birthday during the Games.
“I am attempting the vault morning, noon and night so I can get it right for the Olympics. My goal is to produce my best performance.”