Dipa first Indian woman gymnast to seal Olympic berth

Rio de Janeiro, April 18 (IANS) Dipa Karmakar has entered into history books becoming India’s first woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics after putting up a strong show at the final qualifying and test event for the Rio Games.

Dipa, who is an Asian Championship bronze medallist, qualified in the artistic gymnastics event for Rio Olympics after collecting 52.698 points in the test event, according to the world gymnastics governing body, FIG’s website on Monday.

The 22-year-old recovered from a poor performance in the uneven bars on Sunday to finish strongly in the beam and floor exercises and earn 52.698 points.

Dipa was originally placed on India’s reserve list for the test event before being told last month that she had been promoted to India’s main squad.

The Agartala girl has been listed as the 79th gymnast among individual qualifiers in the list of women’s artistic gymnasts who have qualified for the quadrennial Games, to be held between August 5-21.

Dipa will receive the sports ministry’s funding of up to Rs.30 lakh under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), the Sports Authority of India (SAI) announced on Monday.

Besides being the first Indian woman, she will also be the first Indian gymnast qualifying for the quadrennial extravaganza after a gap of 52 long years.

The last time Indians participated in gymnastics at Olympics was way back in 1964, but during that time there was no qualification system in place. Six men competed at Tokyo 1964 in the artistic individual all-around category.

Till date, 11 Indian men gymnasts have competed in the Olympics –two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964.

Dipa will also get a chance in the vault, the event in which she picked up two bronze medals in the 2015 Asian Championships and 2014 Commonwealth Games. She also had finished a creditable fifth in the World Championships.

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