Small town gymnast asks for modern equipment

Ranchi, Feb 21 (PTI) Excited with her five gold-medalfeat in the National Games, Tripura gymnast Dipa Karmakarfeels she could be among the top Asian girls if givenequipment 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) inthe National Games and the credit goes to my coach BisweshwarNandi, a ten-time national gymnastics champion," Dipa told PTIat the Mega Sports Complex here.

"Though gymnasts in China, Japan and Korea use thestate-of-the-art equipment at training centres, presentlythere isn''t much gap between them and India, unlike some yearsago. And if provided such modern equipment at trainingcentres, not only me but several others can be among topgymnasts in Asia," observed the 17-year-old gymnast.

"Another difference between us and the Chinese, Koreansor Japanese is they do not make minor mistakes that we oftencommit. We also need to practice more to avoid such minormistakes in order to beat them," said Dipa, who won goldmedals in the allround individual event, balanced beam, tablevault, uneven bars and floor exercises.

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

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

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

A keen follower of American gymnast Nastia Liukin, the2008 Olympic gold medallist, Dipa said, "I am working hard toemulate Nastia Liukin. But again it depends on the equipmentwhich I get in the training centre."

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

Though job offers are coming her way, she said, "I amstill 17. I have to wait for another one year." PTI PVR CM

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