The Young Indian gymnast, Dipa Karmakar made history on Sunday becoming the first ever Indian women to qualify for the finals of World Gymnastics Championships and booked a berth for artistic gymnastics in Rio Olympics to be held in August 2016.

The 22-year-old reaped a total score of 52.698 points in the Olympics qualifying event. Apart from being the first Indian woman gymnast qualifying for Olympics, she is also feathered as the first Indian gymnast qualifying for the quadrennial extravaganza after 52 long years. Since India gained the exposure to participate in the finals of World Gymnastics Championships, 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.

The International Federation of Gymnastics (Federation Internationale de Gymnastique) has confirmed Rio Games qualification in its official release and Tripura’s Golden Girl, Dipa Kermakar 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.

Dipa’s favorite move is the Produnova vault which is said to be one of the toughest ever and has a high risk of injuries and has only been completed successfully by five women gymnasts all around the world. The much difficult Produnova gave her the shiniest jewel in her crown as she scored 15.066 points, the highest among the 14 competitors.

“Every thing involves risk. I am not afraid of taking it. I believe whatever my coach says, he never allows me to take pressure,” she added. Her coach Bisheswar Nandi said after her achievement that she has received a lot of support from everyone. “The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has announced Rs.1.10 crores for her practice for the Olympics with 80 lakhs for apparatus and the rest for training abroad,” he said.”Even Rahul Dravid (of GoSports Foundation) has extended full support.”

The series of creating history for Dipa has been started since 2007.Till now she has bagged 77 medals, including 67 gold medals, in state, national and international events. She is also the first woman gymnast to win a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014. The Indian Government awarded her the most prestigious Arjuna Award from President Pranab Mukherjee on National Sports Day, the birth anniversary of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand on Aug 30, 2015 and was awarded statuette, certificate and award money of Rs.5 lakh at Rastrapati Bhavan.

A moment made coach Nandi emotional and he shared his view with the media”I still remember Dipa coming to me as a flat-footed kid, which is not good for a gymnast. It affects the spring in her jump,” Nandi told. “That was the hardest part to fix for Dipa, we had to work very, very hard when she was a little kid to get the curve in her feet.”

“Only after coach Nandi corrected my flat foot, my journey began,” adds Dipa saying she would be nothing today if not for her coach.

After overcoming various hurdles with flying colors the stage is set for Dipa to take the last leap towards being the next big woman sports star of India after Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza. Can Dipa stand up to the expectations? It is a vital question to answer till August this year.

~ The Path Bender ~

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