The towering intensity in her eyes cast a shadow over her fears and she swiftly ran towards the Produnova vault with a dream to create history – to be first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Maintaining the right balance between speed and time, she made the muscular leap of faith. In that powerful moment, she united the sweat of her handwork with passion. And when she landed with perfection, her joy was limitless and the whole world applauded.
Dipa Karmakar became a star.
In the next second, she made the headline of every news channel and became an inspiration for every girl who dares to dream. A week ago, the celebrations of her victories were limited to her friends but now, she is our best hope for Rio Olympics.
Here are some facts about her life that will make you acknowledge her struggling period.
1. Her grand dreams were built at Agartala, Tripura.
She started practicing gymnastics at the age of 6. Initially, gymnastics didn’t interest her. Dipa’s father is a weightlifting coach and served half a decade training athletes in the Andaman Islands. He pushed her to try harder. Gradually, she became more centered and her dreams found wings to fly.
2. The beginning was not easy. She was a flat-footed kid.
Flat feet is a postural deformity in which the arches of the foot collapse, with the entire sole of the foot coming into complete or near-complete contact with the ground.
During her early training days, coach Bisbeshwar Nandi found that her flat feet affected the performance but after right guidance, she regained momentum.
“That was the hardest part to fix for Dipa, we had to work very, very hard when she was a little kid to get the curve in her feet.”
3. Dipa Karmakar won the Junior Nationals in Jalpaiguri at the age of 14.
Since 2007, Dipa Karmakar has won 77 medals including 67 golds, in various levels of competitions ranging from state to international.
4. Her passion had sensed her arrival.
She was part of the Delhi Commonwealth Games where she saw Ashish Kumar create history by winning India’s first ever gymnastic medals at the games.
“That’s when I told myself I will win it for India in Glasgow four years down the line,” said Dipa.
5. Personally, she is not calm and composed.
She is a bit short-tempered and at times argued with her coach when things didn’t work out.
6. She is one of the five gymnasts who have successfully completed the Produnova.
Karmakar achieved the highest score on a Produnova in the world: 15.100, which is 7.000 for difficulty, and an 8.100 for execution, with a 0.1 penalty.
7. Pradunova is a deadly risk.
It can lead to paralysis or even death if practiced without guidance.
“There can be death if you land on the neck, there’s death if you go down headlong. It is risky, I know. But to win something, I always knew I had to take a risk,”
8. Dipa Karmakar has had only one coach since the beginning – Bisbeshwar Nandi.
9. In the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Karmakar won a bronze medal in the women’s vault final.
She received an overall score of 14.366. This win made her the first Indian woman to win a commonwealth gymnastics medal.
At the 2014 Asian Games, Karmakar finished fourth in the vault final with a score of 14.200.
10. PM Modi congratulated her and wished her good luck for Rio Olympics.
Rio, here she comes.