Dipa Karmakar 'heartbroken', coach Bishweshwar Nandi lashes out at sports ministry
Dipa was harbouring the hope of a last-minute consideration after she wrote a letter to the SAI officials, requesting them to relax the selection criteria for the Asian Games.
As the sports ministry excluded 216 names while approving 634 athletes from a list of 850 for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, scheduled from September 23 to October 8, one of the most renowned athletes who has found herself out of favour is gymnast Dipa Karmakar.
Dipa, who famously finished fourth in the Rio Olympics vault event, is shattered by the exclusion. Her coach, Bishweshwar Nandi, lashed out at the ministry for omitting Dipa from the final contingent.
“Dipa is heartbroken,” coach Bishweshwar Nandi was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.
The Tripura athlete, who was hoping to make a comeback at the international having served a 21-month ban after failing a doping test, topped the selection trials in the women’s artistic gymnastics event.
In the list initially sent to the Asian Games organiser, her name even featured in six separate disciplines - all-around, balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars, vault and team. However, the sports ministry excluded her on the grounds of eligibility criteria. "In a non-measurable individual sport, the player must have achieved 8th rank in the last 12 months," the ministry's criteria stated.
Dipa was harbouring the hope of a last-minute consideration after she wrote a letter to the SAI officials, requesting them to relax the selection criteria. The ministry approved Indian men's and women's football's bid to participate in the Asian Games.
'The move will take gymnastics backward'
Now, as her hope of competing in the Asian Games got dashed, Bishweshwar questioned the ill-treatment meted out to Dipa.
“This is the first time I am seeing that a team (football) is being selected on the basis of past performance. Even as a coach and earlier as a player we always selected athletes based on current performance and form. But this time it was based on past performances. This is not good for Indian gymnastics and will take the sport backward. The men’s team could have been considered," said the Dronacharya Award recipient.
Only one gymnast - Pranati Nayak - has been cleared to travel with the Indian contingent.
“If Dipa would not have topped the trials I would have never spoken for her. She is in good nick and would have done well,” Nandi added.