Gutted Dipa Karmakar uses 'freedom of speech' on I-Day to 'discuss' exclusion from Asian Games
Dipa, the face of Indian gymnastics who creditably finished fourth in the women's vault final in the Rio Olympics in 2016, has been excluded from the Indian gymnasts' squad for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Dipa Karmakar is displeased with the recent development blocking her return to international events, in this case, the Asian Games.
The 30-year-old, the face of Indian gymnastics who creditably finished fourth in the women's vault final in the Rio Olympics in 2016, has been excluded from the Indian gymnastics squad for the Hangzhou Asian Games by the Gymnastics Federation of India in its recommendation to the sports ministry.
This was despite her topping the trials conducted by the national federation for the Asiad in Bhubaneswar on July 11-12. Dipa had attained first place in the women's artistic gymnastics event.
On Independence Day, August 15, Tuesday, the gymnast took to social media to express her displeasure about the exclusion in a statement.
'Demotivating and discouraging'
"On this Independence Day, I am using my freedom of speech to discuss recent events that have proven to be very demotivating and discouraging," Dipa wrote in her Instagram post.
"The Asian Games, an event, I have eagerly anticipated for the past two years, looks further than it is."
"To my surprise, despite topping the national trials and meeting the Ministry's selection criteria, it appears that I will be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the Asian Games 2023. Worse still, the reasons behind this decision are unknown to me and have not been communicated officially. Instead, my fellow gymnasts and I are left to read about our exclusion from the Games in the news and I simply do not know what to make of it," a distraught Dipa wrote.
"The hard work and sacrifice that goes into preparing for a major games is rarely appreciated and instead met with uncertainty and defeaning silence from SAI and the Sports Ministry," her statement added further.
"All I ask is for the selection criteria to be applied fairly and consistently across all sports and request that the correct information be conveyed to us so that we do not live in uncetainity," she added.
Dipa remains hopeful of Asiad participation
Dipa, however, remains hopeful of making it to the Indian squad in next month's Asian Games.
"I owe to my country to continue my training and I am hopeful that I will be joining @WeAreTeamIndia in Hangzhou next month. Jai Hind!"
Dipa's name was originally sent to the Asian Games organisers by the July 15 deadline. And she was supposed to compete in six events: all-round, balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars, vault and team.
Now, it is learnt that Pranati Das and Pranati Nayak's names have been finalised for women's gymnastics events.
Earlier, the federation said that she failed to fulfill the sports ministry's eligibility criteria. "In a non-measurable individual sport, the player must have achieved 8th rank in the last 12 months. In sports events where rankings are not maintained or where sportspersons have not been able to improve their ranking on account of reasons like lack of exposure in international tournaments, appropriate criteria must be adopted by NSFs in consultation with the ministry," the ministry's criteria stated.
Following this development, Dipa sent a letter to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), requesting it to relax the eligibility criteria for her in the line of Indian football teams, who are allowed to compete in the Asian Games despite not meeting the eligibility criteria.
In her letter, Dipa stated, "I faced several setbacks, including two ACL tears in 2017 and 2019, limited opportunities to compete during the pandemic, and a 21-month suspension that concluded in mid-July 2023 due to doping violation. I earnestly request the sports ministry to consider my exceptional circumstances and kindly grant the necessary relaxation in the eligibility criteria."
Dipa has been out of competition since 2019 due to injuries and subsequent suspension due to a doping violation that ended this year.