Dipa Karmakar, the female gymnast from Agartala, Tripura, stunned the whole world by finishing fourth in the Rio Olympics. She lost an Olympic medal by a whisker. Since then, Dipa has been eyeing the Tokyo Olympics. Even though she had missed a medal in Rio, she was preparing for a podium finish in Tokyo. But the Corona pandemic has ruined all her plans and preparations. Dipa could not get a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics as one qualifying competition after another got cancelled. She didn’t even get the chance to qualify. On the other hand, Pranati Nayak, a female gymnast from West Bengal, got Olympic clearance in the continental quota. This time she will represent India in the Tokyo Olympics.
The female athlete from Agartala had to be satisfied with the fourth-place finish in the Rio Olympics. But it was still a historic moment for the whole of India. Because it was the first time an Indian woman gymnast had come so close to winning a medal. Dipa had stunned the whole world with her Produnova vault at the Rio Olympics. Dipa and her Dronacharya award-winning coach Bishweshwar Nandi were preparing for the Tokyo Olympics building on the regret of missing out on an Olympic medal. Two years ago, the star gymnast suffered a leg injury. However, she came back to full fitness after recovering from the injury. Under the guidance of Guru Bishweshwar Nandi, she was training at the NSRCC in Agartala. But the Corona pandemic had ruined all her plans.
The International Gymnastics Federation was supposed to host three World Challenger Cups before the Olympics. But two of those events had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. And this is what drove Dipa out of the Tokyo Olympics. The rule is such that a gymnast must compete in three World Challenger Cups to win an Olympic ticket. This World Challenger Cup is also referred to as World Cup. A gymnast must collect at least 90 points by participating in these three World Cups. In fact, these tournaments are the qualifying rounds of the Olympics. With two tournaments already cancelled, it is no longer possible for Dipa to collect 90 points.
The World Challenger Cup will be held on June 23-26 in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The Indian Gymnast Federation has already informed Deepa’s Dronacharya coach Visweshwar Nandi about this today. However, Mr. Nandi was not informed about how and when to leave amidst this Corona crisis. He told Barak Bulletin, “At the very last moment, the federation informed me about the Doha Challenger Cup. However, they didn’t let us know how to reach there amidst the Corona situation.”
The important thing to mention is that despite participating in the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha, Dipa is not going to the Tokyo Olympics. Because despite being the best performer in Doha, the Indian star gymnast will not be able to collect 90 points. Dipa has points 45 in her bag at the moment. This means she still has to earn 45 more points in Doha, which is not possible. Hence, Dipa has no chance at qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.
Dipa had suffered a knee injury back in 2019. As a result, she had to stay in rehab for a long time to recover from her injury. After recovering from the injury, the female athlete from Agartala did not participate in any international event. In the meantime, the coronavirus pandemic had already started raging all over the world. As a result, all kinds of sporting events were stopped all over the world. And this created the biggest obstacle for Dipa to qualify for the Olympics. The star female gymnast did not get a chance to qualify as two Challenger Cups got cancelled. There has not even been a National camp in the last year and a half. After recovering from the injury, Dipa’s first target was the 9th Asian Championship. But it also got cancelled due to the epidemic.
On the other hand, Pranati of West Bengal represented India in the Asian Gymnastics Championship in 2019 after Dipa was ruled out due to injury. She won a bronze medal in that competition. Due to that performance, she managed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. A Sri Lankan athlete will go to the main stage of the Games as the second female gymnast from the Asian quota in the continental quota.
Despite the organizers of Japan and the International Olympic Association (IOS) repeatedly claiming that the Tokyo Olympics will be held, the event is still in a state of uncertainty. Starting from the common citizens of Japan to their doctors, all are opposing the Tokyo Olympics. Amidst all this, Deepa was preparing for the Olympics.
She was hopeful that she would end up qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. But Corona has turned everything upside down. And thus, Dipa Karmakar’s dream got shattered, who finished fourth in the Rio Olympics.