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Five star Dipa gearing up for Rio

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The expectations are high from Dipa Karmakar to end India’s long wait for an elusive Olympic medal in gymnastics in the Rio Games in 2016.



Sabi Hussain

Tribune News Service

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 6

The expectations are high from Dipa Karmakar to end India’s long wait for an elusive Olympic medal in gymnastics in the Rio Games in 2016.

There’s a strong reason to believe so — she is the first Indian woman to clinch a CWG medal in artistic gymnastics at Glasgow, finished an impressive fourth in the Vault final just few points behind the Olympic champion in the Incheon Asian Games and is the winner of record five medals at the 2011 National Games in Ranchi.

On Friday, Dipa repeated her Ranchi Games’ heroics in front of a packed Jimmy George Indoor stadium here to clinch the gold medal in individual all-round, table vault, balancing beam, uneven parallel bars and floor exercises. That the jaw-dropping performance came when Dipa is still recuperating from an ankle injury she had sustained during the Glasgow CWG certainly makes her achievement worth mentioning. How often do you see a gymnast winning five medals with a half-fit body and when the equipment does not offer adequate friction, differ in designs and hands slip off the bars and rings. Seriously, Dipa must be having some real talent to inspire a whole lot of countrymen to actually dream of that elusive Olympic medal and place their faith in her abilities. The National Games participation actually formed an integral part of her long-drawn plan to qualify for the Rio Olympics later this year in Scotland.

But, her plan has already hit the dreaded administrative hurdle. The Indian Olympic Association has withdrawn its recognition to the already suspended Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI), leaving the players to fend for themselves in the absence of a full-time federation. Dipa was to approach the federation with a request to provide her a foreign coach and arrange for exposure trips to prepare for the World Artistic Championships in Glasgow, which will act as a qualifier for the Rio Games.

“I don’t know what will happen now. Before I won the bronze at the Glasgow CWG, not a single exposure trip was organised by the GFI. I had demanded a foreign coach but nothing happened to that demand as well. I was about to approach the federation with these demands to provide a foreign coach and arrange for a training-cum-competition programme, but now the federation is no longer there,” Dipa told The Tribune. “You need to move to the next level to think about participating in the Olympics. My only target for this year is to crack the qualifiers,” she added.

Dipa has now decided to approach the Sports Ministry with her demands as the rising star from Agartala is part of the Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) — a scheme through which the elite athletes’ training and equipment needs would be funded.

Dipa has not been given the promised cash awards by the state government for her CWG bronze. “They just organised a reception on my return.”

 

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