India gymnast Dipa Karmakar revealed she was dreading returning home empty-handed from Rio after she narrowly missed out on a Bronze in the vault final in the Games. Competing with the best, Dipa executed a perfect produnova and scored a 15.066 but had to settle for a fourth-place finish in her maiden Olympic appearance.
The 23-year-old, who said she was in no rush to get back home from Rio, was given a rousing welcome when she returned to the capital city in the early hours of Saturday.
Sporting a huge smile, Dipa thanked the country for the support. “I want to thank India for giving me such a great welcome,” she said.
Dipa also revealed she felt sad to have not got her country a medal but promised to bag one in four year’s time. (‘Rustom’, Hyderabadi biryani await Sindhu after Silver in Rio)
“I am very disappointed that I missed a medal. But still I have this satisfaction that people would now feel that India can win a medal in Gymnastics. Tokyo Olympics is my next target,” she said, brimming with confidence. (Sindhu fought like hell, says coach Pullela Gopichand)
The memory of losing an Olympic medal by just 0.15 of a point in Sunday’s vault final continues to haunt her. Dipa didn’t show much emotions immediately after the event but reveals she broke down on return to the Games Village in Rio on Sunday.
WATCH – TOKYO NEXT TARGET, SAYS DIPA
“I was satisfied with my performance when I finished the vault final but when I reached my room and saw that I missed out on a medal by such a small margin, my coach and I cried a lot. (Name a storm after PV Sindhu, says Kapil Dev)
“I am very happy that I competed with the legends of the game and against them I finished fourth.”
Dipa has now been recommended for India’s highest sporting honour. However, the gymnast is not sure whether she should celebrate the moment. Reason: “I am very happy that I have been chosen for the Khel Ratna but would have been happier if I would have received that award with a medal.” (Also read: Dipa Karmakar recommended for Khel Ratna after spectacular Rio show)
She got the people in the country behind the Rio athletes after a first few disappointing days. She set the tone and compatriots Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu took it from there. Wrestler Sakshi opened the account for India with a bronze in the 58kg freestyle wrestling and shuttler Sindhu, in her Olympic debut, fought her way through to a silver.
Dipa said the Rio show will help the Indian girls come up with a better show in Tokyo. “I am very happy that Sakshi and Sindhu have won a medal and now feel that in Tokyo we have far better chance for Indian girls.”
And the Bishweshwar Nandi, Dipa’s coach, was standing right besides her watching her ward grab all the attention. Banking on the support he is expecting to get from the government, Nandi is optimistic of a medal in Tokyo for Dipa
“I am sure Dipa will win a medal at Tokyo Olympics. We need more facilities and authorities are supporting us,” Nandi said.