Dipa Karmakar: India’s Golden Girl

Late into India’s 70th Independence Day, American gymnast Simone Biles, the golden girl of this year’s Games, slipped in her Balanced Beam event. The mistake cost her a fourth consecutive gold medal in a row, shattering her dreams of the ‘Perfect 5’ in gymnastics. Her bronze felt like a defeat. A day later, she won her fourth gold in the women’s floor event, but the beam mistake still nagged at her. It also nagged at a billion Indians around the globe. Why couldn’t she have made this mistake perhaps an event earlier, in the Women’s vault, where she performed last out of the eight talented women? While every Indian prayed for a mistake, Biles landed two perfect flips, winning a gold by a long margin from the second-placed Russian gymnast. But if she had stumbled, India’s 23-year-old pocket-sized dynamo, Dipa Karmakar, would have won a medal in her first-ever Olympic Games. She had qualified 8th and last, but ended up 4th in the final, a single position outside medal standings.
Dipa Kamakar, Rio Olympics 2016 - BookMyShow
Karmakar won hearts again with her execution of the death-defying Produnova in her second jump. She was the sixth gymnast to perform, with two left to go, and had placed second after her performance. Many, including this writer, did the math quickly and realized: if one of the next two score less than Karmakar, this would be India’s first medal and perhaps its proudest. Here was a little girl who had grown up in Tripura, practicing on DIY equipment, in a sport where her country had not one entrant in any Olympics ever. And now she was 2nd, in silver-medal position, with two gymnasts to come. Unfortunately, the two that came after her were eventually placed second and first – Maria Paseka of Russia and Biles of USA, who finished in front of Swiss gymnast Giulia Steingruber. At that moment, it felt cruel, and almost a tragedy, given that the clock struck midnight to mark Independence Day during the medal presentation. It could have been Dipa, but it wasn’t to be. Yet, as the enormity of her achievement set in, one realized that no matter how poor India has been at this year’s event, Karmakar’s 4th place stood at par with past Indian legends who met the same fate: Milkha Singh at the 1960 Rome Olympics (400m national record), P.T. Usha at the LA Olympics in 1984 and Abhinav Bindra at this year’s Rio Olympics. You’d feel bad about it as it happened, and revel in the gloom of what-ifs, but Karmakar had already gone where no Indian had gone before. To be the fourth best in the world in her event was already a significant achievement, and perhaps the tragedy of not winning a medal added to her legend, inspiring many young girls and boys to take up the ignored sport in hopes of compensating for her ‘defeat.’
Dipa Kamakar, Rio Olympics 2016 - BookMyShow
Yet, she said she will be back for Tokyo 2020, where she definitely expected to win a medal. Her confidence didn’t sound foolhardy, because she was still the only athlete in the field who was ‘comfortable’ doing the deadly Produnova. Unfortunately, maybe by 2020, the scoring system will have eliminated the advantages of the high-scoring Produnova, which traditionally favors all-or-nothing gymnasts hoping to shock the more technically able favorites. Biles famously said she “doesn’t want to die,” when asked if she would try what Karmakar does so often. Still, one feels that, with fame and a little more wealth on her side, Karmakar stands a good chance of being far more polished and traditionally capable by the time Tokyo comes around. She can get up there, perhaps if she trained in another country, too. One thing is for sure: no stone should lay unturned to develop her into India’s face of Olympic history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 − six =

More in Other Sports

  • The Many Resurgences of Roger Federer

    Roger Federer has spent more than half his life as a professional tennis player on the ATP tour. In August this...

    Rahul DesaiMarch 23, 2017
  • The Sports Week That Was and Will Be

    While a bunch of Oscar-nominated contenders make their way into Indian screens on the eve of the 89th Academy Awards –...

    Rahul DesaiFebruary 24, 2017
  • Neymar – The Modern Pele?

    Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, simply known as Neymar, has taken the football world by storm ever since he made his...

    Dharm PatelFebruary 5, 2017
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – Truly the Greatest

    Cristiano Ronaldo is a name everyone is aware of, whether they follow football or not. He just cannot be ignored, the superstar...

    Dharm PatelFebruary 5, 2017
  • Because of Roger Federer

    14 years ago, new to the big city, still in a state of culture shock, I made my way to my...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 30, 2017
  • Jose Mourinho v Brendan Rodgers

    Two big names in the world of football, are managers Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers. We wish the two "gaffers" a very happy birthday today, as Jose turns...

    Dharm PatelJanuary 26, 2017
  • A Beast Named Luis Suarez

    If you're a football fanatic you certainly know of a half-man, half-beast who goes by the name of Luis Suarez. We wish the footballer a...

    Dharm PatelJanuary 24, 2017
  • Australian Open 2017: Djoker No More

    One of the most dominating streaks in individual sport over the last decade – that of Novak Djokovic’s hold over tennis’s...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 19, 2017
  • Weekly Roundup: The Week That Was

    On the first “serious” movie week of the year, three films – two Indian, one major Hollywood franchise flick – release...

    Rahul DesaiJanuary 13, 2017

All articles/blogs are intended to inform, entertain and amuse. We make no representations or guarantees about the truth, accuracy or quality of any content.

Copyright 2016 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news!
Thank You For Subscribing To Us!

Now get regular updates on the latest entertainment news and style trends.

Providing you with the best of Bollywood, Hollywood, style and more.
Get the best in entertainment, while keeping yourself entertained!
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
WordPress Popup