Flexibility, strength and focus is what a gymnast derives at the end of their beautiful journey. This sport has in it a “Beautiful Expression” which mesmerizes the audience and this is hard to find in any sports category. Originally started as military exercises gymnastics has its origin in Ancient Greece. The word comes from “gymnazein” literally means to exercise naked. Physical exercise being important in Greece was practiced by both men as well as women equally.
In India this game has not gained popularity. Ashish Kumar who won a bronze at 2010 commonwealth games is the first sportsmen from this field to reach this height. But this did not satisfy the Chief Coach from Soviet Union Vladimir Chertkov and he smacked saying “Is this all that you can deliver, a Bronze?”. Later revelations were made that there were no equipment’s for training and the player had to be trained on the hard floor until February 2010 and the equipment’s that were procured afterwards were 20 years’ old.
But in the coming years who knew there was a spark that was going to be ignited and that spark is none other than Dipa Karmarkar. Born in Agartala, Tripura on August 9th 1993, this girl is all over the headlines. She came into picture when she won a bronze medal at 2014 Commonwealth games held at Glasgow and hence this making her first female to win a medal in this field.
Her journey is inspiring, even after she knew she had a flat foot which can affect the springs in the jumps for a gymnast it did not stop her from approaching the coach and taking up this sport. This being the hardest part she had to work her way up since her childhood to get her curves right for her feet. She got the grip when she first won in 2007 at Junior Nationals Jalpaiguri. She has had many fleets after this such as winning 77 medals out of which 67 are gold and these include state, national and international championships.
Somethings look beautiful but beneath them lies a huge risk factor that the only person who creates such art knows the risk. So is the case with vault Produnova which was perfectly attempted by Elena Produnova at the Universiade Games in 1999. This is risky because if not landed well it may lead to spinal injuries. This is the same vault attempted by our star performer Dipa Karmarkar for the qualification round. She not only did it well but also out performed it by getting an overall score of 15.100 which consists of 7.000 for difficulty, 8.100 for execution and a 0.1 for penalty. This score is the highest in this vault making her outperformed many gymnasts in the world. She is also among the five women who have performed this vault exceptionally.
She has secured her first titles by being the first female Indian gymnast by securing an Olympic berth with a total score of 52.698 points. She is also the first Indian gymnast to qualify for Olympics after a long time of 52 years. When asked she gives all her credits to her coach Bisbaswar Nandi who helped her excel in the field despite her flat feet.
There are times when we learn that giving all that we have is what is required. This is what can be seen in our very own champion Dipa Karmarkar who gave up learning English for her only knowledge Gymnastics. But the short of English language did not stop her from graduating and taking up Masters as well in Political Science apart from her love for Gymnastics. In future we hope her the best at the Olympics Rio 2016.
– Shubhangi Patil