Asian Games 2018: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s name finds prominent space in Jakarta
Dipa’s best showing in the continent came in 2015 when she bagged a bronze at the Asian Championships in Hiroshima, before which she finished third at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.other sports Updated: Aug 16, 2018 12:12 IST
Jakarta Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s audacious and life-threatening Produnova vault --- also called the ‘vault of death’ --- may not have won her an Olympic medal, but that daredevil act certainly has not gone unnoticed in faraway Jakarta.
A huge billboard saliently placed in the centre of the bustling city, has a quote from her saying, “If you want to achieve something in life, you have to take risks.”
Dipa had finished fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics but her fans and admirers seem to be all around the world. And Jakarta, hosting the Asian Games for the second time, has chosen this one quote to showcase ahead of the continental Games, which start on August 18.
And she does not have competition as far as jostling for space on the billboards is concerned. Not a single athlete, both from the host country or the world-conquering mammoth Chinese contingent, is vying for space with Dipa at any of the Games venues or at the Jakarta Convention Centre, the hub of activity, with three days to go for the Games.
One doesn’t know what kind of reception the diminutive gymnast gets here when she arrives, but one thing is for sure, Dipa could become an icon if she wins a medal at the Games. Dipa will land in the city on August 17 and her coach Bishweshwar Nandi, who is still in India with his ward, when told about Dipa’s inspiring quote figuring prominently in the city hub, said, “I am unaware of her popularity in Jakarta. This is a very prestigious thing for her and the nation and this will certainly raise expectations from her.”
“It should be a big boost for the entire Indian contingent and I hope Dipa will show the way,” said the coach.
Dipa’s best showing in the continent came in 2015 when she bagged a bronze at the Asian Championships in Hiroshima, before which she finished third at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Ashish Kumar remains the only gymnast from the country to have won a medal --- a bronze --- at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
There were doubts about Dipa’s fitness as she was coming back after a two-year layoff following the Rio Olympic Games. She also underwent a knee operation in April 2017, forcing her to miss a host of major international competitions, including the Asian Championships in Thailand.
But she defied odds, winning gold last month at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup in Mersin, Turkey, quashing rumours about her form and fitness.
“The Asian Games is a mini Olympics in gymnastics as countries like China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Uzbekistan would be there to challenge. Dipa is quite confident of doing well,” said Nandi.
First Published: Aug 16, 2018 10:13 IST