It’s been a hectic week for coach Bishweshwar Nandi since his ward Dipa Karmakar qualified for the vault final in artistic gymnastics.
The duo knows that this is a dream opportunity to make a mark at the world stage, and have been busy tweaking their routines to make them razor sharp in order to cut down the opposition en route a medal.
Dipa won’t be doing her famous Produnova vault in the opening routine. Instead, she will be relying on the second-most trying routine in the vault --- the Tsukahara.
“She has been doing the Produnova well but has been faltering in the second attempt when she does the Tsukahara. I want her to therefore try the latter first so that she will put her all in it and get decent points,” said Nandi.
He has been fine-tuning her landing and trying to ensure that her legs stay together as that will count towards better execution and hence more points.
Dipa has also now been given a physio who has been helping in her recovery post-practice. “There has been support from SAI (Sports Authority of India) and IOA (Indian Olympic Association). We are as prepared as we can be. Now, it’s in the hands of God.”
Meanwhile, Dipa has been keeping away from the press and the attention back home. “She is relaxing in her room and is raring to go. For an Indian to even make it to the top-eight in the world is spectacular. We will try our best for a medal,” said Nandi.
One of the crucial things that the coach has been looking to improve is the take off and the height gained thereof. “The margin of safety improves with height. She should touch about seven-and-a-half feet during the final. We have gained a few inches during this last week.”
What is Tsukahara
The Tsukahara refers to a family of vaults performed by men and women in artistic gymnastics. The first Tsukahara vault was performed by (and named after) Japanese gymnast Mitsuo Tsukahara in 1972.
A Tsukahara vault consists of a half turn off the springboard onto the vault table, then a push backwards, usually into a back salto (tucked-in somersault) or layout (somersault).
The vault has many variations attracting different degrees of difficulty points. The highest in women’s Tsukahara is 6.7, awarded to “stretched Tsukahara” performed with a 2 ½ twist. In comparison, the Produnova has a difficulty score of 7.0.
(Dipa Karmakar will be in action in the women’s vault final at 11.27 PM IST on Sunday, August 14)