Dipa Karmakar back in the Olympic reckoning?
The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed the plans of athletes around the world.
While they are busy rejigging their calendars to work towards competing at the Games now rescheduled to start on July 23rd 2021, the announcement seems to have given India’s gymnastics great Dipa Karmakar a new hope.
The pocket dynamo was set to miss Tokyo 2020 after having suffered a knee injury that saw her sit out for the majority of the 2019 season.
But with the Olympics pushed by a year, the 26-year-old hopes to make the most of the opportunity to make the cut for the Games.
Dipa Karmakar eager to pounce on opportunity
“There were eight World cups but now there are only two left, which were supposed to happen in March but got postponed to June due to the coronavirus outbreak,” she was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
“Given the situation, they perhaps will happen next year. So it gives me more time to recover and prepare for the two events. I will give my best to return to form and hopefully, I can do well and qualify.”
However, for Dipa Karmakar, the road back to the floor is anything but an easy one.
Back in training after a prolonged break, the Indian gymnast was slowly getting up to pace with her routines when a nationwide lockdown to tackle the coronavirus scare halted her progress.
But that hasn’t stopped the Indian ace in her tracks, especially with her coach Bishweshwar Nandi ensuring that his ward makes the most of the time at home.
A long road ahead, says coach
“She’s been given a routine to follow at home. She trains twice a day. You can see her on the terrace of her house doing some of the physical training routines,” he told the Olympic Channel.
For non, the coach chooses to stay non-committal on Dipa Karmakar’s chances of making it to the Tokyo Games.
“She’s just coming out of the injury. We had started with the basic exercises and the basic movements, but then everything had to be shut,” he said.
“We will have to wait and watch. There’s no clarity on when the remaining two World Cups will be held. We haven’t drawn up a training schedule too. If the lockdown is to continue for another month or so, then we will have to plan likewise.
"But we sure hope that we get an opportunity to have a crack at the Olympics yet again. If we get an opportunity we will surely give our best to make the cut.
“We are trying for that. But it looks really tough,” he signed off.
Whilst nothing can be taken for granted, there is now at least some possibility of Karmakar making an Olympic return.
Dipa Karmakar at Rio 2016
Karmakar vaulted into the hearts of the nation with her superb performance at the Rio Olympics.
As the first Indian gymnast to compete at an Olympics for 52 years, Karmakar narrowly missed out on a podium spot in the vault competition after landing the famous - and feared - Produnova vault.