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Tokyo 2020

Why is Dipa Karmakar not competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

Well, the failure of the 27-year-old from Tripura to qualify for the 2020 Olympics can be attributed to two major things – constant injuries and the coronavirus pandemic.

Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar
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Indian commentator confuses Deepika Kumari with Dipa Karmakar

By

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 2021-06-10T10:48:44+05:30

Dipa Karmakar rose to prominence in the year 2014 when she clinched a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow. In the process, she became the first Indian woman gymnast to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The diminutive Karmakar kept rising in stature in the coming few years, winning a bronze at the 2015 Asian Championships held at Hiroshima before becoming the first Indian in almost 52 years and first-ever Indian woman to qualify for the Olympics.

Up against the best in the world, at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, she finished just outside the podium and became only the fifth woman in the history of gymnastics to successfully land the Produnova Vault, which is also known as the 'vault of death.'

The performance at Rio made her an overnight sensation in the country, and she was honoured with India's highest sporting award – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the country's fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri. Such was the impact of her show at the Rio Olympics that suddenly, the sport of gymnastics was synonymous with Dipa Karmakar in India.

There were a lot of expectations on her young shoulders. Fans expected her to qualify and better her show with a podium finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But, unfortunately, it was not to be. Dipa Karmakar will not be competing at the Tokyo Games. Why? Read on to find out.

Well, the failure of the 27-year-old from Tripura to qualify for the 2020 Olympics can be attributed to two major things – constant injuries and the coronavirus pandemic.

Immediately after the 2016 Olympics, Dipa badly injured her knee, which required surgery. While one would have expected her to be on a long lay-off from the sport, she bounced back to win the gold medal at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey, in July 2018. But, this was followed by yet another injury on the same knee on which she had undergone surgery next month during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, and she failed to qualify for the finals in Individual Vault and had to withdraw from the team finals.

The qualification for individual Gymnastics events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was set in a way that the gymnasts willing to qualify had to collect points by competing in a total of eight FIG World Cup Series which included one World Cup in 2018, four in 2019 and three World Cups in the year 2020. The aggregate points collected through these World Cup is what would be considered for qualification to the Tokyo Games.

This is where Dipa Karmakar faltered. She could compete in just two of these events, one in 2018 and one in 2019. While she picked up yet another injury in 2019, forcing her to withdraw from the remaining events, the World Cups in 2020 were cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The other way for Dipa Karmakar to qualify was through the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships, which was to be held from 29th May 2021 to 1st June 2021, but even it was called off due to the pandemic, and the results of the 2019 Asian Championships – a tournament which she had missed due to injury, was taken in consideration to award Olympic quotas.


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