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One wrong move and she could have even lost her life. But, that didn't stop her from vaulting to glory in the world of gymnastics, where she has shattered many records and won many hearts
This Women's Day, we at ParentCircle, present inspiring stories of the women of today for the women of tomorrow! Read, be inspired, and share these incredible stories with your daughters. Let your little girls look up to these real-life role models as they grow up to become strong women.
This #IAmWoman story relates to #IAmStubborn.
Who better to fit the bill here than the gymnast who made the world stand up and take notice with some death-defying stunts? We're talking about the amazing story of India's very own Nadia Comaneci."I never felt like giving up though. Not now, not ever."
Meet Dipa Karmakar, India's very own gift to the world of gymnastics. From being rejected for her flat feet when she was all of seven, to acing the dangerous vault of death stunt, Dipa's story is one of grit, passion, and stubbornness. As part of our #IAmWoman series, we talk to the ace gymnast on what makes Dipa, #IAmStubborn. In this exclusive conversation, Dipa talks about how stubbornness, grit, and anger all contributed to her successfully breaking all the barriers including the dangerous Produnova vault.
Excerpts from an engaging chat:
A: I was very young when the sports authority of India rejected me because of my flat foot. After a lot of struggle, we (my parents and my coach) chose this game. Being rejected like that made me feel bad. I never felt like giving up though. Not now, not ever. What kept me going was my coach Nandi sir and his words. He always told me, Beta (child), you have it in you. You can do this. I wanted to show the world that women are in no way less capable than men.
A: Not many people are aware of this disorder. In fact, I didn't know I was flat-footed until my coach pointed it out to me. But on the bright side, there are exercises and equipment that can help you get the curves on your feet. A bunch of YouTube tutorials and consistent hard work helped me achieve this.
A: I come from a place where nobody knew about gymnastics. They were termed a world-level sport as a circus act. We cannot blame them as that's how much they were exposed to. I wanted to reach the Olympics and win medals so that the country can start recognizing and celebrating this sport. So, it was definitely a tough fight to put up with. I gave it my best for 15 years until I gained the right shape in my foot.
A: When I say falling I didn't mean about falling and getting injured. I would define that as failing in my own eyes. When I look at myself in the mirror I don't want to feel like a failure or like I've let myself down.
"The woman in me was proud when I broke all stereotypes and became a player. I feel proud each time a woman attempts the vault and does it well."
A: I have a family background in the field of sports. My dad is a weightlifting coach. So, I was lucky because I did not have to go through the struggle of convincing my parents for what I wanted to do. They supported me in whatever path I chose.
A: Dipa is equal proportions of stubbornness, grit, and anger. When I don't reach my goal, it makes me so angry that I just don't feel like doing anything else. In fact, there are days when I don't eat at home because I couldn't complete a stunt or exercise. Then, my parents would call my coach and complain. He would then convince me. So, I take these things seriously and I try to put in double the effort until I make things work.
A: Like I mentioned before, I am stubborn. I would go to any extreme to achieve what I want. In the 2014 Commonwealth Games, we were put in a spot where beating the vault of death (Produnova) was the only way to qualify for the medal. At that time, I felt, personally, Produnova was something that can take my game to the next level. So, I gave it my best shot and succeeded too.
A: Success comes with risks; you cannot choose between them. As for me, I wanted to bag a medal no matter what. I prepared myself for all the risks. Initially, my parents had no clue about the risks involved. Even after they knew about the risks, they had complete faith in my coach. They knew he wouldn't let anything happen to me.
A: Most parents are scared for their child's safety. Hence, they do not let them pursue their dreams. But I would say, leave it to the coach. They usually take care and work towards the same dream as your son or daughter. That is how my parents trusted my coach and me. So, the first thing is to always have trust.
Next is, bring your child to the field, only then true talents will be identified. Who knows your child might be an Olympic gold medalist someday!
A: Initially, that kind of difference existed. But now, times have changed. Not completely, but there is change. We are two daughters in the family - my sister and I and we were not restricted to anything. The same applies to sports. I think the world has started recognizing more female talents and that they are equally capable as men in terms of winning global medals.
A: Yes, for their 60th anniversary, Barbie honored me with a doll. I did not know how to react. I was very happy when I knew about this. It was a dream come true.
A: There are many instances when I have felt proud. The woman in me was proud when I broke all stereotypes and became a player. I feel proud each time a woman attempts the vault and does it well.
A: I do look up to many women. I believe there is always something to learn from each person. Simone Arianne Biles, an exceptional gymnast, is one of the many females I follow and admire.
A: There is so much potential in all of us, so we should channel our inner strength and give it our best. It's not about proving it to the world, rather work on yourself and excel in what you do best.
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