Dipa returned to a hero’s welcome early in the morning three days after she became the first Indian woman to qualify for Olympics at a qualifying event in the same Brazilian city.
“Since the time I started gymnastics, I wanted to compete at the Olympics. I had dreamt that one day I will compete at the Olympics and bring laurels for my country. I have qualified for the Olympics now,” 22-year-old Dipa told reporters with a sigh of relief.
“Now, I will work harder than before and hopefully I can win a medal at the Rio Olympics. I will put every effort to ensure that I keep creating history. That is my target now,” said Dipa who reached here after a 36-hour-long flight from Rio de Janeiro.
Asked about the effort she had to put in to qualify for the Olympics, the Tripura girl said, “I wanted to qualify for the Olympics last November during the World Championships (where she finished fifth). But that did not happen (a podium finish was required).
“So, my target at the Rio Test event was to qualify at any cost and I am happy that I have achieved my target,” Dipa said.
Dipa qualified in artistic gymnastics for the Olympics after she garnered a total score of 52.698 points. Apart from being the first Indian woman gymnast, she also became first from the country to qualify for the Olympics after 52 long years.
Since the independence of the country, 11 Indian male gymnast have taken part in the Olympics (two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964).
Despite all the accolades she has got after her feat, the Tripura girl sought to remain grounded and said she does not consider herself as a star sportsperson.
“I am not a star. Nothing like that. I don’t think on those lines. My job is to keep working harder and bring laurels for the country. Doing well in the Olympics is my immediate target now,” she said.
Asked if the infrastructure provided by the Sports Authority of India here would be good enough for her to prepare for the Olympics, Dipa said, “I think the infrastructure is good here. At the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, we have the foam pit (to protect gymnasts from dangerous falls) and SAI has promised me to bring a new springboard in two days time.
“Now my job is to focus on my training and do well at the Olympics. To do that, I need help from everyone in my endeavour.”