Dipa Karmakar

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Dipa Karmakar at the Rio Olympics on 7 August 2016

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Family and early life

Dipa Karmakar in action
Photo: Reuters, The Times of India
Dipa Karmakar performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics test event for the 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena in Rio de Janeiro In August 2016. (AFP)
Dipa in August 2014, holding her Glasgow bronze medal. Behind her, in a frame, are the various medals won within India. Photo: DrManishankar Chakraborty
Mrs. Gita Karmakar
From DrManishankar Chakraborty

Sekhar Datta, Avishek Sengupta in Guwahati, and agencies, The Telegraph India

She was born in 1993 on a historic date - August 9, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Quit India movement in 1942. Her hometown is Ujan Abhoy Nagar in Tripura. Nickname: Tina

Dipa had won bronze medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and in artistic gymnastics at the Asian championship in Hiroshima in 2015, besides being five times national champion. Dipa was given the Arjuna award on the basis of these performances, well before her selection for Rio.

Accolades poured in with cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar leading the sports fraternity in praising her for the historic feat. Tendulkar said her achievement would inspire the youth of the country.

Within hours of her qualification, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) included her in the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme, the government's initiative to fund Olympic medal prospects in their preparations for the Games.

Dipa's father Dulal Karmakar is a SAI coach for weightlifting, .

Dipa's mother Gita Karmakar homemaker, was effusive in her expression of thanks and gratitude to goddess Tripureshwari.

B.K. Chakraborty, secretary of Abhay Nagar Boys Club, recalled how Dipa was initiated into gymnastics at the age of six. "The initial hurdle that she had to cross was her flat foot, which restricted her springing action, so essential to gymnastics. But her coach Bishweshwar Nandi gradually got her in shape through practice," Chakraborty said.

First Indian woman gymnast at Olympics

Dipa Karmakar becomes first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics

PTI | Apr 18, 2016


  • Dipa could not clinch an Olympic berth in the World Championships in November 2015 as she finished outside the podium.
  • Dipa was earlier put as second reserve for the ongoing Olympic Test event in Rio.
  • Dipa was informed in March 2016 that she had sneaked into the shortlist of participants.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics as she booked a berth for the Rio Games after a strong performance at the final qualifying and test event.

The 22-year-old garnered a total score of 52.698 points in the Olympics qualifying event to book a berth for artistic gymnastics in Rio Games to be held here in August.

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 gymnasts 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.

Dipa was 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.

The Tripura girl secured 13.366 and 12.566 points in beam and floor exercises.

The 22-year-old could not clinch an Olympic berth in the World Championships in November 2015 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.

Triumphs in 2014, 2015

Dipa had created history by becoming the first [Indian] 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 2015.

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.

Olympics: Reaches finals with eighth position

At a stage when most other Indian sportsmen at the Rio Olympics 2016 were doing badly, Dipa Karmakar’s reaching the individual vault finals brought cheer to the nation.
In August 2016, The Times of India explained how the Produnova could be, if not fatal then capable of causing serious injury.
For days Dipa’s Produnova somersault was a household word in India, with TV channels explaining its perilous nature. It became a metaphor for somersaults of all kinds.
Dipa Karmakar missed a medal at the Rio Olympics by a whisker but she emerged as the pride of India, the country's hope for the next CWG, Asiad and next Olympics.

ALOK SINHA, Aug 09 2016 : The Times of India (Delhi)

Pulls Off Daring Move Shunned By Most Gymnasts

On 7 August 2016 , Dipa Karmakar soared in the air and vaulted into history . Be fore her, no Indian gymnast had ever reached the finals at the Olympics.

Here is the heart-warming story of an unwavering 23-yearold girl from Tripura and her equally committed coach (Biseswar Nandi ) who dared to dream the impossible. At the core of Dipa's incredible journey is Produnova, one of the most exacting and dangerous vault routines in gymnastics -a front handspring followed by two speedy somersaults in the air, climaxing with a thud-like landing.Named after Russian gymnast Yelena Produnova, few dare attempt the high risk manoeuv re. But for Dipa, who comes from a lower middle-class family in Agartala, Produnova is a shining badge of identity , her signature. She is the princess of vault.

That's why at the press conference, when a Wall Street Journal reporter queried her, she was forthright in her reply .“I like to take risks,“ she said. Produnova's inclusion in Dipa's repertoire was the brainchild of Nandi, a four-time national champion from Tripura, who first saw a South African gymnast perform the routine at the Antwerp World Championship in 2013. “Some people..kept saying only boys can do this. I knew my girl's capabilities,“ he once told a newspaper.

The girl has already made him proud. “America's world champion Simone Biles came to meet me before the event and wished me luck. I was over the moon. When an athlete as big as Biles walks up to you, then you are doing something right,“ Dipa said with pride, her eyes shining.

She had scored a 14.850 in the vault routine and was sixth with three subdivisions of qualification yet to go.

She had kept her fingers crossed, tightly, thinking of those difficult times spent in the sweaty hall of Agartala where she trained under Nandi, even as a doting former weightlifter-father Dulal watched from the sidelines.

Four hours later, when she would have finished dinner at the Games Village, Dipa would have learnt that she had qualified eighth for the vault finals.

She finished 51st overall in a field of 98 but that was incidental, just a number. She is not a beam, floor or an uneven bars girl. She is simply the Produnova girl. It was touch and go when Dipa ignored the debutant's butterflies and went for broke in vault qualification. She performed the Produnova well in the first attempt but did not have a good second attempt where she had to do something different. You get two tries but you cannot repeat routines.

That was playing on her mind when she walked out to speak to the media. “Second wala thoda weak tha. I wish it was better,“ she said.

The top eight qualify for the final and she has ended up eighth, with a Q against her name. “Anything is possible. The girl from Great Britain, among the top nations in gymnastics, dropped out due to injury. Right now, I am happy to just be here, to compete with the girls I have admired, idolized,“ she told a group of Indian journalists earlier in the evening.

Talking about the judges at the Olympics, Dipa said, “The judging here is very strict. Getting high scores here is very difficult... you really have to very impressive. It is very different from Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Asian Games. People who score 14 in other events, they are scoring just 12 here. In the test event, my average score was 14.7, today my average is 14.850. If my second vault was better I would have been happier.“

House arrest


A day before her birthday, Dipa Karmakar was rewarded for getting into the Finals by being put under “house arrest“ at the Olympic Games Village by her coach Bishweshwar Nandi as she geared up for the vault finals on August 14.

Her only companions are roommate Saikhom Mirabai Chanu -the only Indian woman weightlifter -and of course Nandi who's been with her for 16 years.

“I've removed the SIM card from her mobile. Only parents are allowed to talk to her. I don't want her to lose focus,“ Nandi said. “Her birthday celebration can wait,“Nandi said.

The world's 4th best

Dipa Karmakar's brave bid for a historic Olympic medal fell agonisingly short by 0.15 points, as she finished fourth in the vault event. Karmakar performed her trademark Produnova, which vaulted her to second spot. But Maria Paseka of Russia and Simone Biles of US dislodged her, claiming silver and gold, respectively The bronze went to Swiss Giulia Steingruber with an average of 15.216 pts, just ahead of Dipa's 15.066

First Indian woman gymnast

The Times of India, April 19, 2016

Dipa Karmakar, a brief biography and achievements; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, April 19, 2016

Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar vaults into history

Nilesh Bhattacharya

Dipa became only the third gymnast to come up with a 'Produnova' during the CWG in Glasgow.

Dipa have bagged five gold medals for Tripura each in the past two National Games, in 2011 and 2015.

Dipa Karmakar took up gymnastics at the age of six on the insistence of her father Dulal, who was a weightlifting coach in Agartala, Tripura. She was scared of falling down and hurting herself but her father convinced her to persevere in the sport.

That decision turned out to be a life-changer for Dipa. The 22-year-old became the first Indian woman gymnast to secure an Olympic Games berth in artistic gymnastics at a qualifying event in Rio de Janeiro. A few hours later, she won the gold medal in the vaults final, the first time an Indian woman has clinched a gold in a global gymnastics event. Dipa is also the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the world's biggest sporting extravaganza after 52 years. Six Indian male gymnasts had last taken part in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. There was no qualification system in place at that time.

This is the story of how a little girl in tiny Agartala overcame her fear of falling down and hurting herself. Today, Dipa is busy planning how to make her leap more daring in the vault stage of the Rio Olympics artistic gymnastics, a move that could win her - and India - an improbable medal. "She has sacrificed a lot in the past three years. Her dedication and hard work has yielded dividends," said Dipa's father Dulal.

Dipa's journey from Agartala to Rio is a truly fascinating one, although her string of recent successes in international competitions did point to something bigger. Like other 10-year-olds, Dipa interest in sports was limited to a few outdoor games in her locality in Abhoynagar, on the outskirts of Agartala. It was on the gentle goading of her father - a SAI weightlifting coach - that Dipa took up gymnastics.

Having become the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth Games medal (bronze) in Glasgow two years ago (2014), Dipa also made it to the finals of World Artistic Gymnastics Championships held at the same venue. However, she narrowly missed out on an Olympic berth by finishing fifth when a podium finish would have sealed a Rio berth.

How Dipa Karmakar sealed Rio Olympics berth

"She was disappointed after failing to seal Rio berth in the Glasgow Worlds last year. But she was determined to clinch it this time around," her mother Gauri said. Although Dipa owes much to her SAI coach Bishweshwar Nandi for her success, she never lost focus and determination in the face of adversity. An Arjuna Awardee, Dipa might have bagged five gold medals for Tripura each in the past two National Games, in Ranchi in 2011 and Thiruvananthapuram in 2015, but she had returned empty-handed from the Guwahati Games in 2007. She was so disappointed with her performance that she left for Agartala straightway without even meeting her father, who was also in Guwahati as a SAI coach then. Even in Rio de Janeiro, with the qualification spot at stake, Dipa came up with 'Produnova' - a skill most gymnasts shy away from. It's a handspring double front vault but the manoeuvre requires perfect balance and great focus. One false step can lead to a bad fall and a career-threatening injury.

That Dipa became only the third gymnast to come up with a 'Produnova' during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow only highlights the degree of skill and perfection that is required to pull off the feat.

In Rio, Dipa's attempt at the 'Produnova' was not flawless, but it still yielded her the highest points among the 14 competitors.

Employed as a physical inspector at the directorate of youth affairs in Agartala, Dipa may stand just 5 feet tall, but the growing list of her achievements has forced one and all to sit up and take notice. Come August, Dipa, a final-year degree student at Women's College in Agartala, will return to Rio with renewed hope and promise in a bid to realize her dream of winning an Olympic medal.

The Times of India on Dipa’s journey

Sep 01 2016 : The Times of India (Delhi) `Hopefully, one day a vault will be named after me'

Excerpts from The Times of India’s interview with Dipa soon after her return from the Rio Olympics, where she narrowly missed a bronze medal.

Can you take us through your journey from the beginning?

My father is a SAI weightlifting coach and he was the one who introduced me to this sport. My first coach was Shubananda madam. At that time, I didn't have much interest (in gymnastics), but I never stopped training. The level that I have reached now is all because of (Bisheswar) Nandi sir. It is due to his hard work and the sacrifices that he made to train me... I didn't think I would be here.

It was only after 2007 that I felt I should continue and when Ashish (Kumar) bhaiya won a medal at the Delhi Commomwealth Games, I felt that even I should try for a medal. Then in 2014, I started training and practising the Produnova and won a medal at the 2014 CWG... Then came the Asian Championship (2015), a Rio test event, where I qualified (for Olympics) and things changed. I got all the support from Sports Authority of India, the federation. After I qualified for Rio, SAI director general Injeti Srinivas immediately ordered latest equipment from France.

So, whose idea was it to try the Produnova?

It was my coach's idea. Produnova is the highest vault and he told me that if I want to earn good marks and win medals at international tournaments, this is one opportunity we can look at. Even if I fall, I will still get good marks. I told him I was ready and he told me that he was with me.

Before the first tournament where I was to try the Produnova, everybody was scared and felt I shouldn't be doing it, fearing injury .

Aisa nahi ki hamesha injury ka dar hota hai, abhi to mein expert ho gayi hun.

How did your first attempt go?

To begin with, it wasn't perfect. We tried it on foam pit, but I always liked Produnova.

You said you took inspiration from Ashish.He also does that style. Does it help if someone else in the country is doing the same style as you?

He had a good landing in CWG, where he won a medal. But there is a big difference in vaulting height of boys and girls. And it's not just Ashish bhaiya, there are two-three more gymnasts who are good at Produnova. When I saw them do it, I felt confident that even I could do it.

Simone Biles, the winner of four gold and a bronze medal at the Rio Games, was all praise for you...il

She is a champion and I got to meet her in Rio.She is incomparable, don't think any gymnast can match her. She told me that my routine on the vault should be called the `Karmakar vault', not Produnova. I

Why gymnastics, why not any other sports?

I have been in this sport since I was five. At that time there was not much knowledge about other sports. The state that I come from didn't have any popular sport that I could have thought of joining. We didn't even have mobile phones that we could research which sports would be good for my future. Papa introduced me to gymnastics and I continued doing it. I starting liking after a while.

(Dipa's father added: I have been asked a lot of times why I put Dipa in gymnastics and not weightlifting. She was only five then.

I have two daughters. My wife and I decided that we should put at least one child into sports. The elder one, who is now married, was not a sports enthusiast but Dipa was very energetic. She was restless and wouldn't settle down in the house even after school. Her height and figure were good for gymnastics. There was not much interest in other sports like table tennis and basketball, so I introduced her to gymnastics.

In 2002, Dipa beat senior players in the NorthEast festival competition to win gold. She slowly started to do well in this sport. Today I am very proud that she got the Khel Ratna award.)

Tripura has a long history of gymnastics...

Yes there is a tradition of gymnastics in Tripura. Even my coach Nandi sir has participated in 10 international events and was a three-time champion. The state has had several good gymnasts. Daljeet sir from Punjab was the first one to start gymnastics in Tripura and a Russian team had also come visiting. It started from there... Then there was a small gap, but the sport is picking up again now. The future looks bright.

When did you feel that you have a realistic chance of winning an Olympic medal?

In 2007 I felt I could win an Olympic medal.

How did you balance gymnastics and studies?

I feel sportspersons are naturally intelligent, so they don't need to study too much. I am not an 80 per centee but manage 50-60% in my exams. I always go from the camp a day or two before the exams. People ask me what is the hurry of sitting for exams when I have just returned from Rio. But I feel there is nothing without education and that's why my coach and parents have always advised me to continue studies.

[On the Rio Olympics]

Nandi sir explained to me that we have qualified in eighth place, so if we do well in the finals we will finish sixth or seventh, and if we fare badly we'll still be eighth, won't go below that. I was scared how my coach would react if I had a bad jump. But when he told me all that, I competed freely and did well on that day to finish fourth.

Material rewards

Aditya Bhattacharya | TNN | Oct 12, 2016, Dipa Karmakar to return her BMW owing to maintenance issues, The Times of India

  • Dipa and her family has opted to return the car owing to maintenance issues
  • Nandi revealed that they have spoken to the Hyderabad Badminton Association about their concerns
  • Dipa, along with Sakshi Malik and PV sindhu, was presented the car in September

Dipa Karmakar's pathbreaking performance in the Rio Olympics was lauded by many, including former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who was picked to present her, along with PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, a BMW car in September. However, owing to maintenance issues, Dipa has decided to return her gift to the original owner V Chamundeswaranath, president of the Hyderabad Badminton Association.

The prime reason behind it seems to be the difficulty Dipa and her family is having maintaining such a posh car in a city like Agartala, where the roads are narrow and not well-maintained. Moreover, since Dipa's next assignment, the Challengers' Cup in Germany is a month away; Dipa has been advised not to bear the maintenance cost and rather devote her time towards practicing.

Dipa was not available for the comment, but her coach Bisheswar Nandi shed some light on the topic. "It wasn't Dipa's decision. Rather it was a collective decision taken by her family and me," Nandi told TOI Sports. "There are two main reasons behind it. First, there is no BMW service center in Agartala and secondly, the roads are not suitable to drive a posh car such as this."

Nandi furthermore revealed that they have spoken to the Hyderabad Badminton Association about their concerns and that the body has accepted their request. "We have spoken to the concerned authority and gladly, they have no problems with it. It was also suggested to them that if possible, they transfer the amount equivalent to the value of the car to Dipa's bank account. And if not, we will be happy with whatever amount they decide," he said.

Govt. upgrades road for BMW, but the BMW still being returned

Biswendu Bhattacharjee, Dipa gets her way, road to be repaired for her BMW, Oct 21 2016 : The Times of India

Days after ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar turned down the BMW X1gifted by the Hyderabad District Badminton Association because of the condition of roads in the state, the Tripura government has prioritized repair of the main roads of the locality in which Dipa stays. Agartala Municipal Corpoon mayor Prafullajit Sinha ration mayor Prafullajit Sinha said the entire stretch of road in front of Dipa's house at Abhoynagar, connecting it to Agartala Government Medical College, will be refurbished so that the BMW can get space to come out of the garage. The government has earmarked Rs 78 crore for the renovation of road on a priority basis, a PWD official said.

While appreciating the decision, Dipa said, “We never spoke of any road or lane for the BMW's movement. Along with road space and quality, service and maintenance of the car are also important issues here. We have made up our mind to give up this car.“



2018/ achievements, in brief

August 16, 2018: The Times of India

After a two-year long injury layoff, Karmakar announced her comeback with gold in World Challenge Cup in Turkey last month. Anything less than gold will be underwhelming not only for millions of fans but also for herself. The biggest competitor would have been Japan’s world champion gymnast Mai Murakami, who has the best scores among Asians this year in the all-round (56.532 points) event as well as floor exercise. But according to the Asian Games website, she will not travel to Jakarta. In her absence, the Chinese trio of 17-year-old Liu Tingting, Liu Jinru and 16-year-old Chen Yile — all among the top-10 in the world — will try to make Dipa’s job difficult. The North Koreans, led by Kim Su Jong, would once again be formidable opponents, especially in the team event.

Gymnastics World Challenge Cup: gold

Dipa Karmakar wins gold in Gymnastics World Challenge Cup, July 8, 2018: The Times of India

Returning to action after a lay-off of nearly two years due to an injury, India's premier gymnast Dipa Karmakar today clinched the gold medal in the vault event of FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey.

The 24-year-old from Tripura, who had finished fourth in vault event in the 2016 Rio Olympics, scored 14.150 to win the top prize. She had topped the qualification with a score of 13.400.

This is Dipa's first medal in a World Challenge Cup.

In her first attempt, Dipa had a difficulty score of 5.400 while collecting 8.700 in execution for a total of 14.100. She improved the score in her second attempt to 14.200 (5.600+8.600), giving her a total average of 14.150.

Rifda Irfanaluthfi of Indonesia clinched the silver with 13.400 points while local woman Goksu Uctas Sanli took the bronze with a score of 13.200. Dipa, who is being accompanied by her coach Bisheshwar Nandi, has also qualified in balance beam finals by finishing third in the qualification with a score of 11.850.

Dipa had suffered an Anetrior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury after the Rio Olympics and had undergone a surgery. She was initially confident of making a comeback at the Commonwealth Games but rehabilitation took more time than expected and she missed the Gold Coast event.

Meanwhile, Rakesh Patra missed out on a medal in men's rungs event finals as he finished fourth with a score of 13.650. Ibrahim Colak of the host country won the gold with a total score of 15.100 while Romanian Andrei Vasile (14.600) and Dutchman Yuri van Gelder (14.300) took the silver and bronze respectively.

World Challenge Cup series is an important competition in the calendar of International Gymnastics Federation. There are six events in the World Challenge Cup series this year and this is the fourth leg of the season.

Both Dipa and Rakesh have been included in the 10-member Indian gymnastics team for the upcoming Asian Games.

See also

The Olympics: India (2016)

Tripura: gymnastics

Vivekananda Byamagar

Bishweshwar Nandi

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