Saluting Dipa Karmakar On International Women's Day

Dipa Karmakar, the daredevil gymnast who won our hearts with her effort at Rio last year, talks about her struggles, achievements and the support she has received from her parents

By Team ParentCircle  • 7 min read

Saluting Dipa Karmakar On International Women's Day

With 1.1 billion girls around the world ready to make a difference in the future, let’s equip them with the necessary tools and support. After all, it’s a beautiful thing when career and passion come together. Dipa Karmakar is an amazing trailblazer, who has charted her own path to become one of the most successful sportspersons in India.

Here is a story of an achiever who has broken several barriers to claim her place at the top. Dipa Karmakar is the first-ever Indian woman gymnast to participate in the Olympics. Although she missed the bronze medal by a whisker at Rio last year, the ace gymnast won our hearts with her grit and determination. Her attempt of the risky Produnova vault (only five women in the history of gymnastics have tried it) has made her popular all over the world. From being a flat-footed little girl to becoming one of the most accomplished gymnasts, Dipa has come a long way. Here, she tells us her story. Read on…

Q. You are the first Indian woman gymnast to participate in the Olympics. It is a proud feat for India. How do you feel?

It is a great thing for me. I feel very proud that after so many years someone has done this at an Olympic event and that too in gymnastics.

Q. What were the challenges you faced initially in your life and career?

Initially, I had to face a lot of challenges because I was flat-footed, which is not acceptable in gymnastics. Also, it was tough because I come from the hilly areas and did not have funding. But, I am lucky that I got a very good coach. My family supported me a lot.

Q. You executed the dangerous Produnova vault at Rio Olympics. What makes you so brave?

I cannot say if it was the bravest move or not, but I think that if I had not done the Produnova, then I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Q. You missed the medal at Rio narrowly. How did you cope with it and motivate yourself to be better?

A medal for the country at the upcoming Olympics is what keeps motivating me to do better every day. Now, Rio is history and I am totally looking forward to the Olympics in 2020 and continuing my good form.

Parents are the biggest pillars of strength who keep motivating their children to do better.

Q. You have motivated many girls from modest backgrounds to take up gymnastics. What role can parents play in supporting the dreams of young aspirational girls?

Sports in India, especially gymnastics has a very bright future and I would say that more girls should take up the sport and represent the country. Parents play a key role in our life, especially when we want to take up a sport. They are the biggest pillars of strength who keep motivating their children to do better. If I had not got the unflinching support of my parents, I would not be talking to you right now.

Saluting Dipa Karmakar On International Women's Day

Q. How many hours of training and practice are required every day?

It all depends on the age of the child. At my level, you need to train for a minimum of 7-8 hours. But for beginners, so many hours are not necessary as the child may not be able to cope with rigorous training at that stage. It is best for the coaches to decide how many hours of training is needed.

Q. Should physical education in schools focus on gymnastics instead of just running and drills?

Gymnastics is the mother of all sports and if you are good at it, you can pursue any sport. It will be very good if gymnastics is introduced as a compulsory sport in every school because it will serve as the base for all other sports.

Q. Your message to all the young children who want to take up gymnastics, and to their parents…

You must focus and show total dedication to the sport. My message to parents is that they should motivate their children and support them if they want to take up a particular sport.

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