Ecstatic and exhausted in equal measure after becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, Dipa Karmakar on Thursday said she would look to continue scripting history wherever she competes.
“I will put every effort to ensure that I keep creating history. My target was to qualify at any cost and I am happy that I have achieved my target,” Karmakar told reporters after returning to India from Rio de Janeiro to a hero’s welcome.
She booked her Rio ticket with a gold medal in an Olympic Test event.
The 22-year-old garnered a total score of 52.698 points in the Olympics qualifying event to book a berth for artistic gymnastics in the Rio Games to be held in August.
Apart from being the first Indian woman, she also became the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza after 52 long years.
Since independence, 11 Indian male gymnasts have taken part in the Olympics (two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964).
Her first vault, the much difficult Produnova, gave Dipa 15.066 points, the highest among the 14 competitors. But a poor show in the uneven bars took her points down as she collected 11.700, the second lowest among the 14 participants. The Tripura girl secured 13.366 and 12.566 points in beam and floor exercises.
“It was very difficult but I have got a great mentor because of whom I am here. Without him nobody would have known my name,” she said.
“To achieve something, you have to take risk. I am thankful that special arrangements were made at the IG Stadium where I practised and learnt Produnova vault. Otherwise it would have been impossible, so I am thankful to the Sports Authority of India,” she said.