Kolkata, August 10
India’s gymnastics coach Bishweshwar Nandi said the first target for Dipa Karmakar in the Asian Games would be to make the finals of the vault event in the artistic gymnastics. “I don’t want her to think of a medal from the outset. She is coming back after an injury and it won’t be easy. I want her to reach the finals. That is the first target,” Nandi said.
Returning to action after nearly two years due to an injury, Dipa clinched the gold in the vault event of FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey, last month. The 24-year old from Tripura showed no signs of wear and tear as she scored 14.150 points to win the gold.
“I know that expectations have been heightened after her gold in the World Challenge Cup. There will be extra pressure and you cannot avoid it. Everyone expects Dipa to win a medal whenever she is in action,” said Nandi.
Recuperating from an Anetrior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury she picked up after the Olympics, surgery kept Dipa out of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Rating the Asian Games as the second Olympics, Nandi said he is leaving no stone unturned in preparing Dipa.
“Asian Games are like second Olympics. There are players from China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea and Uzbekistan. These countries have some of the best athletes and the competition is very tough,” said Nandi, a Dronacharya awardee. Dipa’s main competitors at the Asian Games will be Oksana Chusovitna of Uzbekistan, China’s Liu Jinru and Wang Yan, and Japan’s Sae Miyakama.
Nandi admitted that dropping the tough Produnova vault from Dipa’s arsenal was a hard call but keeping her injury in mind, they could not afford the risk. “We could not take the risk because it’s not been long since she recovered. She only started practising at full tilt after the CWG.”