Small town gymnast asks for modern equipment

Ranchi: Excited with her five gold-medal
feat in the National Games, Tripura gymnast Dipa Karmakar
feels she could be among the top Asian girls if given
equipment used in China and Japan.

"Gymnastics equipment used in Agartala is very primitive.
Still I am happy to have won five gold medals (for Tripura) in
the National Games and the credit goes to my coach Bisweshwar
Nandi, a ten-time national gymnastics champion," Dipa said
at the Mega Sports Complex here.

"Though gymnasts in China, Japan and Korea use the
state-of-the-art equipment at training centres, presently
there isn`t much gap between them and India, unlike some years
ago. And if provided such modern equipment at training
centres, not only me but several others can be among top
gymnasts in Asia," observed the 17-year-old gymnast.

"Another difference between us and the Chinese, Koreans
or Japanese is they do not make minor mistakes that we often
commit. We also need to practice more to avoid such minor
mistakes in order to beat them," said Dipa, who won gold
medals in the allround individual event, balanced beam, table
vault, uneven bars and floor exercises.

She grew up watching her father Dulal Karmakar, a
weightlifting coach with the Sports Authority of India (SAI),
taking her to the gym.

"I was introduced to gymnastics by my father when I was
six years old. Later, I went on to play the sub-junior, the
junior and senior nationals before representing the country in
the World Championship, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian
Games," Dipa said.

"But my life`s best moment came in Ranchi on February 19
when I became the allround individual champion in my first
appearance in the National Games. I was very very excited
after bagging four more gold medals, indeed," she added.

A keen follower of American gymnast Nastia Liukin, the
2008 Olympic gold medallist, Dipa said, "I am working hard to
emulate Nastia Liukin. But again it depends on the equipment
which I get in the training centre."

Her coach said, "I have always told her she has loads of
talent, and can do wonders in gymnastics."

Though job offers are coming her way, she said, "I am
still 17. I have to wait for another one year."