Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar will return to action following a 21-month ban for failing dope test when she competes at the Asian Games selection trials in Bhubaneswar on July 11 and 12.
The 29-year-old from Tripura was named in the list of core probables by the Gymnastic Federation of India in May. Dipa’s ban period would be over on July 10.
“It is confirmed I will be participating in the trials. I have been training in Agartala last few months, so hope for the best,” Dipa told PTI over phone.
Dipa was the first Indian gymnast to win a gold medal at a global event, when she topped the vault event of the Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup in Turkey in 2018. She also won a bronze at Cottbus the same year.
She is also a 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and a bronze winner at the 2015 Asian Championships in Hiroshima.
However, injuries affected her career as she underwent a surgery to treat her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury in 2017.
“She has been training for last 2-3 months,” said Dipa’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi, who guided her to an unprecedented fourth-place finish in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“Now the only focus for her is doing well in the trials,” he said.
Gymnastics Asian Games trials
Among other top gymnasts, Pranati Nayak, Pranati Das, Protistha Samanta are some of the names among women, while Rakesh Patra, Yogeshwar Singh are among the elite names in men.
“For better evaluation, a two-stage opportunity will be provided to the gymnasts for assessment in Individual Apparatus,” GFI said in a letter on Sunday.
According to the format of the trials, “All gymnasts will have the opportunity to perform in the event for which they are eligible. The all-around scores and results from Day 1 will be final.
“Gymnasts wishing to be considered as Vault event specialist must perform 2 vaults.” On the second day, the “gymnasts will have the opportunity for a 2nd Performance for the purpose of evaluation for Individual Apparatus.
“Gymnasts identified for All Around may choose any one or more apparatus for the 2nd performance. Their scores however will be considered only for that respective apparatus, their all-around score and all-around ranking from Day 1 will not undergo any change.
“Gymnasts identified for only individual apparatus may choose any apparatus within their eligibility for 2nd performance.
“The best of the 2 performances will be considered for final ranking list for individual apparatus. The selection committee may nonetheless consider both performances.” “To provide the gymnasts the ability to continue their usual training, an option is hereby accorded to all gymnasts to skip performing and have their previous score considered for the purpose of this selection in the following manner.
“Gymnasts who were selected and participated at the 2023 Asian Championships may have their scores from the Asian Championships considered for selection.
“Gymnasts who were not selected for the 2023 Asian Championships may have their scores from the previous trials of May 2023 considered for selection.”
Pranati Nayak eyes all-around qualification
Tokyo Olympian and 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist Pranati Nayak is also confident of her chances of qualifying in all-around event.
“I suffered a shoulder ligament tear before the National Games in Gujarat. I recovered and returned to action at the Asian Championships. I didn’t get much time to train so the performance was not up to the mark,” Nayak said.
“But I am feeling much better and hope to put up a good score at the trials and qualify. I will be in best shape before the Asian Games,” she added.
The nagging injury continued to affect her chances as she missed a slew of events, including the 2019 World Championships and couldn’t qualify for the Tokyo Games.
In February this year, Dipa was banned by the International Testing Agency (ITA) after her out-of-competition dope sample on October 11, 2021 returned positive for higenamine -- a prohibited substance under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.