Hours later, on Monday, Dipa Karmakar clinched the gold in the vault.
Apart from being the first Indian woman, she will also be an Indian gymnast qualifying for the quadrennial extravaganza after 52 long years.
“Congrats Dipa Karmakar. By virtue of Olympic qualification joins TOPS that entitles her four additional assistance of 30 lakhs, four customised training”, the SAI tweeted. “First time, a daughter from the country has been selected in gymnastics stream for the Rio Olympics”. And rounding it out was a decent bars score of 11.833, good enough for 78th place. But Dipa was only half nervous.
That confidence came from history.
The 40-year-old, well-travelled Chusovitina will become the first gymnast to compete at seven successive Olympics, adding another chapter to a glittering career in which she has represented the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, Uzbekistan, Germany and finally Uzbekistan again.
The first Indian female gymnast to win a medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and follow it up with another bronze at the Asian Championships in Hiroshima, she also reached the final round of the 2015 World Championships and finished fifth.
Dipa Karmakar. Till yesterday, not many would have heard of this 22-year-old girl from the country’s Northeast.
Such has been her dedication in trying to flawless the Produnova vault, that she made a decision to note down her attempts for one week in a diary she keeps. The final tally? 127 vaults. Gymnastics being far from a lucrative sport with very little following in India, Dipa had to struggle each step of the way. “It helps me stay humble and keeps me going through this insane journey”, Williams said a year ago, after discovering that she was the first gymnast to compete for Jamaica.
Dipa believes that her achievement has given a new lease of life to gymnastics in India. “She has been consistently improving”.
“Tripura has young men and women who have enormous skills in gymnastics and they would be able to show their performance if they got appropriate support and encouragement”, another Tripura gymnast – and Arjuna awardee – Mantu Debnath said.
The Citizen talked to an elated Dulal Karmakar, father of Deepa Karmakar, who said, “I am very proud of her”. After achieving this, she was extremely happy. Our whole family is ecstatic.
See some of her best moments in the video below.