Dipa Karmakar: Breaking Barriers and Creating History

Sitam Chaki
|Published August 09, 2016

Dipa Karmakar has been continuously flirting with history ever since she became the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Last night (7th August) she continued her tryst with destiny to qualify for the individual vault finals by finishing eight in the qualifying round.

Early beginning

This young Tripura girl has been trying her best to put India on the world gymnastics map. She rose to recognition when she won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In the process she became the first Indian female gymnast to do so in the history of the games.

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Karmakar started practicing gymnastics when she was 6 years old. In 2007 she won at the Junior Nationals in Jalpaiguri. This furthered her passion for the sport. Since 2007, Karmakar has won 77 medals including 67 gold, in state, national and international championships.


Karmakar competed in the 2011 National Games of India representing Tripura. She won five golds in floor, vault, all around, balance beam and uneven bars.

Dipa won bronze in the 2014 Commonwealtyh Games; source:www.india.com
Dipa won bronze in the 2014 Commonwealtyh Games; source:www.india.com

In the 2014 Commonwealth Games Karmakar won a bronze medal in the women’s vault final, thanks to a vault of difficulty of 7.00. This win made her the first Indian woman to win a commonwealth gymnastics medal and the second Indian, after Ashish Kumar.

In October 2015, Karmakar qualified for the final stage of the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. She became the first Indian to do so. She finished 5th in the final.


On 7th August 2016, Karmakar became the first Indian Gymnast to enter the finals of the Olympics in any Gymnastic events. Her performance included a Produnova Vault placed her 8th in the overall standing.

The Produnova is an artistic gymnastics vault. The Produnova comprises running full tilt towards the springboard. This jump is followed by blocking with the hand, swinging the legs into two full rotations while in flight for twin somersaults.

Then there is the all-important frontal landing, which can go wrong and snap the spine in two if unbalanced. The vault currently has a 7.0 D-score, and is one of the hardest vaults being done today in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics.

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It is named after Yelena Produnova, who was the first person to complete the vault in 1999. Till date, four other gymnasts have successfully completed the Produnova. Yamilet Peña of Dominican Republic, Fadwa Mahmoud of Egypt, Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan and Dipa Karmakar.

Dipa is one among on;y 5 gymnasts to have completed the produnova
Dipa is one among on;y 5 gymnasts to have completed the produnova

Karmakar believes she is entirely in control of her movements on the vault. She knew about the risks when coach, Biswaswar Nandi, floated the idea.

She exudes confidence in her abilities. “I’d seen boys do it, so why not? It’s tough because when you land after two aerial somersaults, the weight that comes on the leg is double – if I’m 45 kg, the legs have to take 80-90 kg,” she said.

Olympics 2016

Karmakar created history on Monday (7th August) after she became the first Indian to qualify for the apparatus finals of artistic Gymnastics at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

In a total of five subdivisions, the gymnasts tried to qualify by finishing in top eight. Karmakar finished eighth in the qualification event of the Vaults and scored 14.850 to qualify. She could not repeat her performance in three other events, namely uneven bars, balancing beam and floor exercise.

The finals of the artistic Gymnastics will be held on August 14, Sunday at 2315 hours IST. The hopes and prayers of 1.25 billion Indians will be with her.

The SportsRush wishes Dipa well for the finals and hopes she goes on to have a great career

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