Lone Indian gymnast at the 31st Olympic Games, Dipa Karmakar created history by advancing to the individual vault final in artistic gymnastics on Sunday.
Karmakar became the first Indian gymnast to enter the final on her debut at the quadrennial multi-discipline games when she finished eighth in the qualifying round.
Named after Yelena Produnova, the routine is considered very dangerous as a slight miscalculation could land the gymnast with debilitating injuries or even death. The danger quotient also makes it a rare manoeuvre to the extent that Karmakar is only the fifth Gymnast to have attempted this routine.
“I learnt it in 2014. I knew I had to take a risk but I was not afraid to perform it,” Karmakar says.
The move, which involves flipping the body twice in the air before landing, starts with a difficulty score of 7.000, the highest in the discipline because. And so gymnasts attempt the Produnova despite the risks as it can get higher rewards and a chance to leapfrog opponents.
“We have to take this risk because we are not a strong nation when it comes to gymnastics. Dipa attempts Produnova because it can get her bigger points and a chance to enter the finals of tournaments,” says Karmakar’s coach, Bishweshwar Nandi.“It is a risk that we have to take. We will not change her vault. Her first mark was 15.06 but it has to come to a standing position.
“Our sport in general is very dangerous. I have seen people falling down from horizontal bars and Roman Rings and die. So Produnova is as safe or dangerous like any other routine of our game,” he adds.