Baku (Azerbaijan): Ace Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar's hopes of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics suffered a major blow after she aggravated her knee injury during the vault final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup here Saturday, forcing her to withdraw from next week's Doha World Cup.
The 25-year-old from Tripura had performed a higher-difficulty Hand front 540 vault, scoring 14.466 and 14.133 points in the two qualifying rounds for an average of 14.299 to qualify for the vault final at the third position.
But she was left crestfallen after aggravating a knee injury while landing during the first vault final.
"She had some problems in her knee before today's final. She was feeling some pain yesterday but felt better after working with physio. She attempted the vault finals today but fell on her first vault, aggravating the injury due to undesired landing," Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) vice president Riyaz Bhati told PTI.
"She did not attempt the second vault due to the injury and finished her campaign at the Baku World Cup. She will now skip the World Cup in Doha and come back to India for rehabilitation and aim for Asian and World Championships this year."
The two World Cups are part of an eight-event qualifying system for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, under which the gymnasts will make the cut based on their top three scores.
The Asian Championship is scheduled to be held at Mongolia from June 13 to 16, while the World Championship is slated from October 4 to 13 at Germany later this year.
"Dipa can still qualify by doing well at World Championship this year," Bhati said.
Dipa had claimed the bronze at the vault event of the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Cottbus, Germany, in November last year to fuel her Olympic dream. It was her first appearance after recovering from a knee strain, which had forced her to miss the vault final in the Jakarta Asian Games.
Dipa has been troubled by her knee ever since she finished fourth at the 2016 Olympics. She had almost two years of injury lay-off after the Rio Games.
She had an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery in Mumbai and had to skip the Asian Championships at Thailand in May last year.
However, returning to action in July, Dipa created history by becoming the first Indian gymnast to clinch a gold at a global event when she emerged triumphant at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey.