Dipa Karmakar: First Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Ruchi Patel, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Since India’s independence, only 11 Indian male gymnasts have taken part in the summer Olympics, and no Olympic medals were ever won. No Indian female gymnast had ever participated in Olympics.

Allahabad-based Ashish Kumar had first participated in the 2006 Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Surat, where he won the bronze. Ashish Kumar had won the first ever CWG medal for India by clinching bronze at the Delhi 2010 Common Wealth Games. Agartala-based Dipa Karmakar had participated in 2011 National Games and won five golds in floor, vault, all-around, balance beam and uneven bars

Dipa Karmakar had created history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast ever to win a medal in an international tournament. She had earned a bronze medal at the Glasgow CWG 2014.

Dipa Karmakar had participated in the Glasgow Gymnastics World Championship finals in November 2015 along with eight vaulters from eight nations. But, unfortunately, she couldn’t clinch an Olympic berth at Glasgow as she had finished in the fifth position in the world, outside the podium. She was the first Indian woman to represent India in the finals of the World Championships.

On April 18th 2016, Dipa Karmakar underwent the final qualifying tests for 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the first subdivision which includes gymnasts from other nations like Romania, Australia, Colombia, Belarus, Hungary, China, Poland, and Croatia. She created history by becoming the first Indian woman ever to qualify for Olympics. She gathered a total of 52.698 points in the final Olympic gymnast qualifiers held in Rio de Janeiro. She scored 15.066 points in Produnova, 11.700 on uneven bars, 13.366 in beams, and 12.566 in floor exercises to become the 79th woman gymnast among the qualified individuals.

This feat by Dipa Karmakar would promote gymnastics as a popular sport choice in India especially for women. And she will join the league of famous sportswomen of India like P T Usha, Anjali Bhagwat, Mary Kom, Mithali Raj, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and many more who inspire millions of Indians.

Wishing the young gymnast all the best for Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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