Dipa Karmakar determined to make up for lost time

Dipa Karmakar, the gymnast, was impeded in her preparations for the Olympics in 2020 due to her ACL injury; she is determined to “try my best to first qualify” for the event.

Injury forced Dipa Karmakar to cope with a trying phase, but quitting the sport never crossed her mind, she says.   -  Shanker Chakravarty

With about 590 days to go, Dipa Karmakar is gearing up for the Tokyo Olympics like a true champion.

The 25-year-old gymnast, who came tantalisingly close to clinching a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is ready to put in the extra effort and make up for the lost time due to her ACL injury.

Read | Dipa ready to vault to great heights after injury setback

“There is hardly any time left for [the Tokyo Olympics]. Only 590-odd days. The ACL injury consumed one-and-a-half years. The whole of 2017 was wasted, and I started training after April 2018. I have very less time left, but I will try my best to first qualify for the Olympics,” Dipa, whose autobiography ‘Dipa Karmakar – Small Wonder’ would be out next week, told Sportstar.

‘Difficult’ period

After the surgery last year, Dipa had to overcome immense pain and mental agony to get back to competition mode. It was like starting from scratch, but Dipa’s never-say-die spirit came to her aid. “It was very difficult. One who has gone through it will know. When you learn how to walk again holding someone’s hand, it is difficult. I never thought of quitting though. I was determined to recover from the ACL injury and prove a point. My physio had a big contribution in my recovery. Even though Asian Games did not go well for me, I got a gold and a bronze in the World Cup (in Turkey) after recovering from that injury,” she said.

The autobiography of Dipa Karmakar is co-authored by her coach Bishweshwar Nandi (left). File Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

 

Dipa was delighted to have finished the work of her autobiography, co-authored by her coach Bishweshwar Nandi and well-known sports journalists Digvijay Singh Deo and Vimal Mohan, in time. “It started after Rio. It was difficult to find time on weekends to share my story. But I am delighted it’s done.”

‘Proud’

Dipa spoke about various interesting aspects of her life, which she has mentioned in the book, such as her initial disagreement with coach Nandi, how she excelled despite being written off by a medical expert for being flat-footed and how the taunts she faced early on made her mentally stronger.

Read | Artistic Gymnastics World Cup: Dipa claims bronze

The diminutive gymnast was thrilled to be rated highly by Olympic legend Nadia Comaneci in the foreword of the book. “Nadia is the Queen of gymnastics. When such a gymnast says good things, you feel proud. Coming from a country where gymnastics is not very popular, it means a lot to me,” said Dipa.