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Dipa Karmakar eyes Paris Olympic berth after exclusion from Asian Games contingent

Dipa wants to put her controversial exclusion from the Asian Games behind her and prepare for the upcoming events to earn Paris Olympics quota place.

Dipa Karmakar (Source: GFI)
FILE PHOTO: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar during a training session in Agartala. (Photo credit: GFI)

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 Dec 2023 11:01 AM GMT

Gymnast Dipa Karmakar wants to put the disappointment of missing the Asian Games behind her and shift focus to preparation and earning a quota place for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Dipa, who famously finished fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, was controversially excluded from the Indian contingent despite topping the selection trials held in Bhubaneswar in July.

Even though Dipa was included in the Indian contingent initially, the union sports ministry's newly laid eligibility criteria, which considered top performances prior to the Asian Games, saw her being excluded.

Dipa, at the time of the selection trials, was returning to competitive gymnastics after serving a 21-month doping ban.

“It’s part of life. If we knew about the circular (specifying the selection criteria), our competition style would have been different. I don’t have any problems with it. For one or two days, I was down. Then, sir (my coach Bishweshwar Nandi) and my parents were there to encourage me,” Dipa said during an interaction on the sidelines of the Techno Olympica Knight, a sports event by Techno India Group, in Kolkata on Monday.

As Dipa gears up to participate in international events, she is well aware of the competition that she is going to counter.

“Most of the qualifying spots were there in the World championships in September. I could not participate in that. Some World Cups are coming up. Those will be really tough, because now probably Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed (to compete). Russia is a top country, the competition will be tougher. But I will give my 100 per cent" said the 30-year-old from Tripura.

Since she made a comeback, Dipa could not put up any impressive show. Troubled by several injuries, Dipa made a ninth-place finish in the World Cup in Hungary in September in the vault event. She is now wary of not hurting her knees again as she prepares for upcoming events in Agartala.

“I think of saving my knees because surgery has been done twice. Apart from two surgeries (to my right knee due to ACL issues), the ankle issue was there. I cannot train as forcefully as I was doing earlier. I’m fully fit now. It’s very tough, but I’m giving my 100 per cent so that I can get a medal before retiring from gymnastics,” said Dipa.

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