Gymnastics World Cup: All eyes on Dipa Karmakar

Karmakar will hope to put behind the Asian Games disappointment with a good performances at the World Cup to be held in Cottbus, Germany.

Dipa Karmakar will hope for a positive start to her Olympic qualification bid.   -  PTI

India’s Dipa Karmakar will hope to put behind the Asian Games disappointment when she participates in the World Cup of artistic gymnastics at Cottbus, Germany from Thursday. The four-day event is part of an eight-event qualifying system under which gymnasts will make the cut for the 2020 Olympics based on the aggregate of their top three scores.

The four-member Indian team — B. Aruna Reddy, Ashish Kumar and Rakesh Patra, besides Dipa — will look to make it count with good performances.

Favourite

Dipa, who finished fourth at the Rio Olympics in 2016, will be favourite among Indians to clinch a medal. She had gained the gold at the Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey in July, 2018. A month later, though, she suffered an injury that compelled her to pull out in the vault category. Aruna, who won a bronze medal in one of the earlier World Cups this year in the women’s vault event in Melbourne, will fancy her chances, too.

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

Among men, Ashish will be India’s biggest medal contender. He had clinched a bronze in floor exercise at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China; also in 2010, in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, he had won a bronze in floor exercise, and a silver in vault.

Aruna Reddy (in picture) will be among the medal contenders, too, from India. Photo: Nagara Gopal

 

Eyes will also be on Rakesh, who has had decent performances this year — a fourth-place finish in the ring apparatus finals at the Commonwealth Games was the highlight. He had also narrowly missed out a medal at the Melbourne World Cup in February, finishing fourth.

Bitter battle

The run-up to the event has not been ideal. The showdown between the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the de-recognised Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) is likely to adversely affect the morale of the athletes. Indian gymnasts could not participate in the World Championship in Doha in October due to the bitter joust between the two bodies. The Sports Authority of India has refused to bear the costs of Yogeshwar Singh and Pranati Das, but is willing to sponsor the other four gymnasts to participate in the World Cup. This prompted Pranati and Yogeshwar to express their grievances to SAI in a letter early in November.

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