Dipa Karmakar's Produnova: Key to India's 2016 Rio Olympics dream medal

She will compete in women's all-round individual and apparatus events — Vault, Uneven bars, Balance beam and Floor. But Karmakar's main focus will be on the Vault, where a neat Produnova routine can help her win a medal, at least.

By Jayanta Oinam | Last Updated: Aug 07, 2016, 06:45 AM IST
Dipa Karmakar's Produnova: Key to India's 2016 Rio Olympics dream medal

New Delhi: In a country obsessed with cricket, the rise of a certain Dipa Karmakar as one of the global stars is strange for one simple fact that gymnastics doesn't sell in India.

But at 2016 Rio Olympics, India will have a gymnast who can compete with the world's finest. And if truth be told, the country can even see a medal from the gymnasium, a first for a nation whose population makes up more than 17 percent of global count.

She was accorded with the 'World Class Gymnast' or 'Gymnaste de Classe Mondaile' moniker by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

Here, it's pertinent to mention Tirpura's long history with gymnastics. What gives birth to this tiny, nondescript state in the north-east a love affair with gymnastics is still a question mired in presumption.

One likely reason is that of the state's decades old political leaning towards socialism or whatever label we may wish to imply, vis-a-vis the erstwhile USSR and endless volumes of Soviet Land magazines.

If we do some digging, we will find the name of Mantu Debnath – Indian legend from Tripura – who reportedly won a medal in the India-USSR cultural exchange held in Russia in 1969. Then, there was Bisheswar Nandi, who idolized Aleksandr Nikolaevich Dityatin, a Russian gymnast and three-time Olympic champion.

And thus started the trend of gymnastics in Tripura, so thus the gymnastics dream for the state. It's not by chance that Tripura is the breeding ground of national champions.

So, the question is: Can Karmakar fulfil that dream, and put India in the gymnastics global map.

Yes, is the answer!

But for the 22-year-old to do that she will need to produce her best, and might even require to perform one of the toughest routines known in gymnastics. The Produnova.

She will compete in women's all-round individual and apparatus events — Vault, Uneven bars, Balance beam and Floor. But Karmakar's main focus will be on the Vault, where a neat Produnova routine can help her win a medal, at least.

Then what is the Produnova?

Named after former Russian gymnast Yelena Produnova, it is a forward handspring double-somersault, wherein the gymnast springs forward off the board onto the vault, performs two somersaults before landing feet first, with her back to the vault.

It has the highest points (7.0 D-score) value of all the vaults in women's gymnastics.

Thanks to its high score, gymnasts often found themselves lured by it only to scare away by the difficulty and the danger involved in executing the routine. But Karmakar hasn't flinched and became one of the five gymnasts to practice it.

Despite carrying a heavier body weight, she has executed the routine to perfection in the past.

And the first Indian woman gymnast in Olympics can make history when the gymnastics actions start today.