In what could be a major blow to her dreams of making it to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, India’s star gymnast Dipa Karmakar is set to miss the upcoming FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
The tournament is scheduled to be held in Stuttgart, Germany between October 4 and 13 will also serve as the qualifying event for Tokyo 2020, with a clutch of quota places up for grabs in the team as well as the individual events.
Karmakar, who is recuperating from a knee injury that she suffered in training and later aggravated at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, has been kept out of the six-member Indian team for the Stuttgart event.
The team comprises of the 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist Ashish Kumar, Yogeshwar Singh, Aditya Singh Rana, Pranati Nayak, Pranati Das and Aruna Reddy.
While Nayak won a bronze in the vault at the Senior Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships early this year, Reddy is the first Indian to win a medal in an individual event at a Gymnastics World Cup. The Hyderabad-born gymnast clinched a bronze in the vault at the Melbourne World Cup last year.
Tough road ahead
Meanwhile, Karmakar’s long-time coach Bishweshwar Nandi confirmed that the Road to Tokyo 2020 looked much more difficult with his ward missing the World Championships.
“It will be tough,” said Nandi to the Olympic Channel. “We have three World Cups next year and she’ll need to win a medal in at least each of the competitions if she is to stand a chance of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.”
The coach also clarified that he did not wish to hurry Karmakar back into training as it might have an effect on her future.
“I need to think beyond gymnastics. I need to think about her second (post-retirement) life as well. She’s recovering well, and that’s a good sign. She’s with the physio Srikanth Kumar and Dr. Anand Joshi. Unless these guys give a clean chit, I won’t force her back on to the floor,” he said.
Toast of the nation
Karmakar rose to prominence with a bronze medal-winning performance at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and then went on to become the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games at Rio 2016.
At Rio, the pocket dynamo showed that her performances were not just a flash-in-the-pan as she came mighty close to winning a bronze in the Vault, only to lose out after becoming just the fifth woman to successfully land the Produnova, also known as the Vault of Death.
Her performance also saw the Indian government honour her with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour in the country.