Deepa Karmakar- why she should be praised


The Rio Olympics has come to an end. The journey of the Indian contigent was not upto the expectations and was neither marked with great success throughout the Olympics. But there were some miraculous performances by the Indians especially women of the contigent, whose outstanding perdormances raised hopes for acquiring medal and we succeeded in getting a couple, one bronze in wrestling and one silver in badminton respectively. But there was one performance which may not have earned gold but it surely has earned appreciation and has won millions of heart. Dipa Karmakar the first ever female gymnast from India to compete at Olympics. Yes she only managed to secure fourth position in the finals but it was far more worthy then gold. She deserves great appreciation and respect.
India is a country where no other sports gets as much attention as cricket. After cricket you may find people talking about football, badminton, tennis etc., but in rarest of cases you will listen someone talking about gymnastics. Gymnastics is a totally ignored sports in India, very few do participate in it. But in spite of this, Dipa Karmakar, the Indian girl from the state of Tripura made billions of people from India to sit in front of their television sets not to watch cricket but gymnastics. Dipa Karmakar is an artistic gymnast who represented India at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She is the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics and the first Indian gymnast to do so in 52 years. Her speciality is Produnova vault and she is among the only five women in the history of gymnastics to successfully attempt the vault and land on feet. The Produnova is an artistic gymnastics vault consisting of a front handspring onto the vaulting horse and two front somersaults off. It has a difficulty rating of 7.0, the highest of all vaults. The Produnova vault is nick named “death vault” due to the high possiblity of gymnasts to land on their neck or back and have a life-threatening injury.
Karmakar started practicing gymnastics when she was 6 years old and has been coached by Bisweshwar Nandi since. When she began gymnastics, Karmakar had flat feet, an undesirable physical trait in a gymnast because it affects their performance. Through extensive training, she was able to develop an arch in her foot. In 2008, she won the Junior Nationals in Jalpaiguri. Since 2007, Karmakar has won 77 medals, including 67 gold, in state, national and international championships. She was part of the Indian gymnastics contingent at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. In July, at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Karmakar won a bronze medal in the women’s vault final, thanks largely to her Produnova vault with an average two-vault score of 14.366 to become the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth Games gymnastics medal, and the second Indian overall, after Ashish Kumar. At the 2014 Asian Games, Karmakar finished fourth in the vault final with a score of 14.200. At the Asian Championships, held in Hiroshima from July 31–August 2, Karmakar won the bronze in women’s vault while finishing 8th on balance beam. In October 2015, Karmakar became the first Indian gymnast to qualify for a final stage at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, where she finished 5th with a two-vault average of 14.683.
On 10 August 2016 at the 2016 Olympic Test Event, Karmakar became the first female gymnast from India to qualify for the final vault event at the Olympics, with a score of 14.833. She narrowly missed out in the bronze medal by just 0.15 points, finishing 4th in the finals of the event with a score of 15.066 on 14 August 2016 at Gymnastics Center, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where Simone Biles won Gold.
Yes, it is true that she has not bagged many medals at the bigger stages and has finished fourth at the Rio Olympics not bagging a medal for India. But her stellar performance in gymnastics, an area India has consistently ignored, makes her a champion. Also the point is not only her fantastic performance but also the courage she had to risk her life to win a medal for India and save her nation’s pride. After qualifying for the final event of gymnastics at Rio, during an interview she said that with one wrong move she could die on spot. And according to Bisweshwar Nandi, her coach, the only reason to take such a high risk was only to increase the chances to get a medal for India.
The journey was not easy. Karmakar’s dream of winning a medal for India was woven decades ago with help of her coach Bisweshwar Nandi. They had no funding, no equipment and no guidance. All they had was a determination to succeed and a brainwave to build makeshift apparatus from a pile of crash mats and discarded parts of a second-hand scooter. Even during Olympics, her physio, Sajad Ahmad was rushed to Rio to keep her in optimum shape only after she qualified for the finals. Her earlier request of company of the physio was deemed wasteful. Without any background support Karmakar’s determination and hard work made her succesful in marking her name with golden letters in the history of Indian sports.
With her feat in the Olympics she has become an inspiration for many young sportsmen and other youth. Her journey also teaches the youth that with strong determination and success they can not only achieve success but they can also achieve great success on the paths which are not much followed. She missed the medal but she won hearts. She is the real baazigar of the game.
“Kyonki haar ke jeetne wale ko baazigar kehte hain”