6 things to know about Dipa Karmakar, India’s top gymnast

Dipa Karmakar made headlines by becoming India’s first vault finalist at the Olympics when she fell inches short of clinching an Olympic medal in the Rio edition in 2016.

Dipa Karmakar left an indelible mark by becoming the first Indian woman to qualify for the individual vault finals. Dipa finished eighth in the competition and ended India’s 52-year-long wait of having a gymnast at the Olympic games, which had last happened in 1964.

Here’s a look at six interesting facts about India’s top gymnast DipaKarmakar:

Early bird catches the worm

Dipa Karmakar started her gymnastics journey at the young age of six. She began training under the able guidance of veteran coach Bisbeshwar Nandi in Tripura’s Agartala.

However, the start was not a smooth one. It soon came to light that Karmakar suffered from a postural deformity called flat feet. It’s a condition which affects the spring in an athlete’s jump, and she had to undergo several hours of additional training to get the curve in her feet in order to compete at the highest level.

No equipment to train

The gymnast had no equipment to train for more than eight months when she relied just on personal training to prepare herself for the 2014 Commonwealth games. Thankfully, the federation arranged for a two-month camp for the gymnasts to train, and the results showed in Hiroshima.

Commonwealth medal

Dipa Karmakar showed that even with a two-month camp, she could compete with the best in the world. Not only did she compete, but she also returned with a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games – the first by an Indian female gymnast.

Karmakar also became only the second Indian to claim a Commonwealth Games medal in gymnastics. She went on to become the first Indian woman gymnast to appear in the World Championship at Glasgow.

Prolific medal tally

Karmakar has a tally of 77 medals in all, which include 67 gold medals. This comprises all the medals she has won in the state, national and international championships. The journey began when Dipa won the Junior National Championship in Jalpaiguri, aged 14.

Training seven hours per day

While preparing for the World Championships in 2015, Dipa Karmakar trained for seven hours per day. Dipa trained in two shifts, from 9 am to 12:30 pm and from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Olympic Test event turnaround

Karmakar had failed to secure an Olympic berth through the World Championship. She was initially pencilled in as the second reserve for the Olympic Test event in Rio, but a turn of events saw her sneak into the shortlist of participants.

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