Agartala, Aug 15 (IANS) Ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar narrowly missed the Rio Olympics gymnastics bronze on Sunday night, but won the hearts of millions in Tripura and other parts of the country.
Dipa’s parents, relatives, friends and admirers said that though she missed the medal by a whisker, the Tripura girl performed better than earlier.
“My daughter’s performance in the final event was good. We are extremely happy about her performance,” Dipa’s father Dulal Karmakar told reporters here soon after television screens flashed the result.
He said he was proud his daughter went to the world’s top class gymnastic event from a modest household in India’s small state like Tripura.
Dipa’s mother Gauri Devi said: “Our daughter will do better in the 2018 Winter Olympics. She will win gold definitely.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics are set to take place in South Korean city of Pyeongchang.
A large number of people and journalists from India and abroad had gathered at Dipa’s home at Abhaynagar on the outskirts of Tripura’s capital Agartala since early Sunday evening.
Dipa’s neighbour and CPI-M politician Sankar Prasad Datta, who was all along at her home since late afternoon, told IANS: “We are very happy that (she progressed) from eighth position in the qualification round to fourth position in the final event.”
“We are confident that Dipa will get a medal in the next Olympics. We are not disheartened. We are grateful that Dipa took the name of Tripura to the world’s top sports arena,” said Datta, a Lok sabha member.
In the final event on Sunday, Dipa averaged 15.066 points to finish fourth at the 31st Rio Olympics.
Since Sunday evening, people across Tripura were glued to their TV sets hoping that the state’s golden girl would end the drought as far as medals for the Indian contingent are concerned.
Tripura Sports Minister Sahid Chowdhury said Dipa’s success in gymnastics has made the people of the state and all other Indians proud.
“Though Dipa could not win a medal, her performance was excellent in the final event. We are very glad. Not only people of Tripura, the entire India was very positive as Dipa has scripted history by participating not only in the Olympics but also in the final round,” Chowdhury told IANS.
Dipa is the first Indian gymnast to make the cut for the Olympics in 52 years.
The last time Indians participated in gymnastics at the Olympics was in 1964, but there was no qualification system in place at that time. Six men competed at the 1964 Games in Tokyo in the artistic individual all-round category.
Till date, 11 Indian men gymnasts have competed in the Olympics — two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964.