Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first ever Indian to qualify for the Olympics in gymnastics. Karmakar, the 22-year-old gymnast from Tripura, exhibited a strong show as she completed her performance at the final qualifier and Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janiero.
She finished 9th in the first of the four subdivisions of the women’s artistic category, thus qualifying for the Rio Olympics in August. Karmakar qualified for the Olympics after finishing all four apparatus in test event. She garnered a total score of 52.698 points in the Olympics qualifying event.
Apart from being the first Indian woman, she will also be an Indian gymnast qualifying for the quadrennial extravaganza after 52 long years.
Since the independence of the country, 11 Indian male gymnast have taken part in the Olympics (two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964) but this will be the first for an Indian woman at the Olympics.
The International Federation of Gymnastics (Federation Internationale de Gymnastique) has confirmed Dipa’s Rio Games qualification in its official release.
Dipa has been listed as the 79th gymnast among individual qualifiers in the list of women’s artistic gymnast who have qualified for the Rio Olympics.
Her first vault, the much difficult Produnova, gave Dipa 15.066 points, the highest among the 14 competitors. But a poor show in the uneven bars took her points down as she collected 11.700, the second worse among the 14 participants.
Deepak Kagra, an international referee, said that after Dipa’s strong performance it was certain that she would qualify for Rio Olympics.
The 22-year-old could not clinch an Olympic berth in the World Championships in November last as she finished outside the podium (fifth place).
She was earlier put as second reserve for the ongoing Olympic Test event in Rio but was informed last month that she had sneaked into the shortlist of participants.
Dipa had created history by becoming the first woman gymnast to win a medal — a bronze — in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. She then became the first Indian woman gymnast to feature in the finals of World Championships in November last.
The sport of gymnastics has been in turmoil in the country in the last few years with rival factions holding elections and claiming to be the national federation. Even the camps for the gymnasts has been held under the aegis of Sports Authority of India.