Dipa Karmakar all set with a 'surprise move'

Ace Indian gymnast is working on a new move and style, that would fetch her more points which would help her in the World Championships, Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games.

Sachin Tendulkar and Dipa Karmakar during the latter's book launch, 'Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder' in Mumbai on Tuesday.   -  Supreet Sapkal

Move over Produnova as India’s gymnastics ace, Dipa Karmakar, is set to try out a new move. 

The girl from Agartala is training hard to get accustomed to the new style, which she prefers to keep under the wraps. "Let that be a surprise," she told Sportstar on Tuesday.

Returning to action at the World Challenge Cup in Turkey last year, Karmakar opted for Handspring 360 and Tsukuhara 720 en route to her gold medal winning feat. She had scripted history by becoming the first Indian gymnast to clinch a gold medal at a global event.

But Karmakar now insists that the process of getting used to the ‘new move’ has already begun.

“The difficulty level in Produnova has been reduced to 6.4 from 7 and the point system has become more complicated. So, it is important to try out a new move and fetch more points,” Karmakar said at the launch of her book ‘Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder’.

Popularly known as the ‘Vault of Death’, the Produnova requires a gymnast to run up to the vault and first do a handspring — that is literally toss himself/herself into the air using the vault as some sort of a jumping board. Then, the gymnasts are required to do two neat somersaults mid-air. After that they have to land on their feet.

Considering how dangerous it could be for the athletes, the world gymnastics body has reduced the difficulty level. “I agree that Produnova was my strength, but I have to move on. I need one good move so that I can fetch more points and that’s the only objective at the moment. That will help me in the World Championships, Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games,” Karmakar said.

“I have already started working on the new style but I want to keep it a secret,” she said.

A file photo of Dipa Karmakar at the Rio Olympics. She competed in the Produnova in the quadrennial games.   -  Getty Images

 

With the Tokyo Olympics a year and a half away, Karmakar is focusing on the World Cup, followed by the World Championships. And for that she was training at the Aakar Gymnastics Hall in Kalyan for the last three weeks.

However, she is returning to Agartala on Wednesday as the Tripura government has finally installed the foam pit and has built a state-of-the arm gymnasium. After the Rio Games in 2016, Karmakar had requested the state government to install a foam pit in her training centre, but it took nearly four years to get things done.

But Karmakar is happy that things have finally fallen in place. “This is the first time we will get a foam pit in Agartala. It is a big thing for all of us. The state government has helped us immensely and Tata Steel has sponsored the foam. It will help all of us,” she said.

After coming fourth in the Rio Olympics, an injury was a major setback for Karmakar and she now hopes to make up for the time lost. “It was a tough phase and the injury came at a very important phase. It was really difficult as I wasted one and a half year. It gets tough to bounce back but I am glad that I could bounce back,” she said.

While she sets her sights on the Tokyo Games, Karmakar hopes to make it count in the Olympic qualifiers. “The qualification process is more tougher now and it is difficult to understand the rules. Things have changed from what it was. If I get a medal at the World Championships, then I can get a direct entry to Tokyo. For that you need to go through the World Cups,” she said.

“The World Cup and the World Championships are really important so I am thinking of Stuttgart at the moment and not about Tokyo,” Karmakar said.