Dipa Karmakar, the household name in gymnastic had a hell of a journey to establish herself. Her story inspired so many around the globe and sparked an interest for gymnastic in India after her Rio win in 2016. In a hearty conversation with Niloy from SportzBusiness, Dipa speaks about her passion, struggle and dreams.
1. How much hard work does it require to do a Produnova vault and why it is so much talked about?
As you may know, the Produnova also is known as the death Vault. It requires a lot of hard work as the difficulty level of Produnova as a vault, around Rio was the highest. Before attempting it for the first time, I had practiced it a thousand times. Only five gymnasts have successfully landed this and happy to be one of the five.
2. You are considered as trailblazer in your chosen area. Do you think your success has made other female gymnasts’ road to prominence a little less hard?
It is an honour to be considered a trailblazer. I believe that Gymnastics got a fair share of limelight post Rio. I am happy that people now recognise the sport and when I am told that people look up to me. A lot of kids now are taking up gymnastics and there are a lot of gymnasts who are performing well at the elite level. I hope that more and more people take up the sport.
3. How was the reaction towards your book ‘Dipa Karmakar- the small wonder’?
I was happy that people received the book well. The fact that a personality like Sachin Tendulkar agreed to launch my book was itself a dream come true for me.
4. What are the challenges of being an Indian artistic gymnast, what you think can be improved to incur this sport into Young India?
I believe gymnastics as a very bright future. We need to introduce the sport at the grassroot level and expose more and more kids to the sport. Also the fact that we do not have a recognised federation which limits competition exposure at National level. Hope that this is something
5. Do you encounter a lot of young people who are inspired by your achievement? What do you say to them to who want to be like you?
Yes, I do. Specially after Rio, I do. Little girls in and around my area always seek me out and tell me how I inspire them. It feels really good. All I would want to tell them is to work hard. I had flat feet and I have put in massive amount of hard work to make them appropriate for performing gymnastics. And the result of my hard work is in front of you today. So be dedicated in your approach to whatever you do and let anyone tell you that you cannot do something, especially if you are a girl.
6. A formidable relation between candidate and coach is said to be must, hence what key mantras did you take from your coach, Biseswar Nandi?
Guruji, as I call him has been instrumental in helping me not just be a better athlete but also a better human being. The only mantra that Nandi sir has ever asked me to follow is to work hard and never focus on the final outcome.
7. How do you keep your mental and physical health intact in critical situations?
Currently, I am undergoing rehab so there are not too many critical situation. However, when I am training ahead of an event, my fitness regime includes a lot of strength training, flexibility, agility, static and dynamic movements and certain exercises which are specific to gymnastics. In cardio, I sprint for 70-80 meters. To ensure that the muscles remain flexible and strong I do certain hamstring exercises. My post-training exercises include a lot of stretching and muscle massages. I also make sure that I have a balanced diet that is rich in all the macronutrients. My training helps me with my confidence. I know that when I have trained well, I can perform well which in turn boosts my mental strength as well.
8. What are the things Dipa loves to do every day and your hobbies, food etc.
I am usually either training or resting, However, when I do have the time, I like catching up on some Bollywood movies.
9. Your few inspiring words to keep your fans and our readers on toes?
Love yourself and your body. Keep yourself physically active. Keep exercising whenever you get time. If you are busy, still make time for exercising your body. Work on your fitness and so that you can channelize the energy within your body in the right direction. Just do it for 15-20 minutes in a day and it will also become mentally strong.