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Nothing Wrong With Dipa Karmakar Training in India for Olympics: Coach

Dipa Karmakar (Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Dipa Karmakar (Picture Credit: Getty Images)

"We were asked to go abroad for training by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), but I refused it," Dipa's coach Biswesar Nandi told News18.

Most of the Indian athletes who have qualified for the Rio Olympics are now training overseas but India's lone gymnast to make the cut, Dipa Karmakar, is fine-tuning herself at home; but her coach Bisweswar Nandi doesn't see it as a problem.

Dipa created history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics when she scored 14.833 to finish with a gold medal in the women's vaults finals in the qualifying event in Rio.

The Tripura girl defeated 2008 Olympic silver medallist Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan to achieve the feat and is now honing her skills under the watchful eyes of Nandi at Delhi's Indira Gandi Indoor Stadium.

There were some reports of her being disappointed at not getting the opportunity to train abroad, but Nandi, talking to News18, cleared all the air around the issue.

"We were asked to go abroad for training by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), but I refused it. Even sponsors also approached us but I refused them too," Nandi said when contacted.

"After so many years, an Indian gymnast has come this far and now going to represent the country at Olympics. She has done exceptionally well under Indian coaches, so we have decided to train her in India only," Nandi said.

Apart from being the first Indian woman, Dipa is also the first Indian gymnast going to Olympics after 52 years.

Nandi said that Dipa is completely focused on her training and not disappointed at missing the opportunity to practice abroad.

"She trains twice in a day. The first part of her training is from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon and then the second session from 4:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. She is totally focussed and is a hard-working athlete," Nandi said.

Out of the four events in women's Artistic Gymnastics – vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor, Dipa has been performing really well in the vault. She won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and followed it up with another bronze at the 2015 Asian Championships in Hiroshima.

Nandi, therefore, wants Dipa to focus more on vault, for which SAI has facilitated to export equipment from France.

"Our main focus is on the vault event. The facilities related to vaulting table, etc., have been given by SAI. We have got the equipment from France. We are training hard at the Indira Gandhi Stadium. We will leave for Rio on July 30," Nandi said.

"She has been performing really well on the vaulting table. She has won medals too. If it would have been uneven bars, balance beam or floor events, I would have definitely taken her out [overseas]. This discipline can be well practiced in India," the coach said.

"I took this decision only after consulting SAI officials. We are getting all facilities here," he said.

On being asked about the medal chances, Nandi said: "Gymnastics is a very competitive sport. I have seen people losing medal by 0.1 margins. I have just told Dipa to go, perform and give her best. I have told her that whatever she has learnt so far in her career, she has to perform the same way in Rio. It is going to be a huge learning for her."

Dipa was only 6 when her father Dulal Karmakar introduced gymnastics to her.

"Actually Dipa’s first coach was Soma Nandi. I am her second coach. She came to me as a 7-year-old in the year 2000. Her father brought her to me. She knew the basics. Since then, I am training her," Nandi said.

Dipa, who had to correct the flat-foot syndrome during her initial years in gymnastics, faced a lot of troubles in her initial career. Nandi helped her get rid of this problem too.

"She was flat-footed. In gymnastics, you need to be cut-footed. Gymnastics has jumping movements. If you are flat-footed, you will face problem while landing and jumping," Nandi explained.

"I saw dedication in this girl but flat foot was the problem. Some gymnastics experts from Kolkata paid a visit to Agartala that time. I asked them for their advice on how to correct it. They said it is not possible. They broke my hopes. But I didn’t stop there," he said.

"I did a lot of research. I gave nine to ten exercises to Dipa to overcome this problem, but I didn’t tell her that she was flat-footed. I just told her if she does all these exercises, she can be a better gymnast. She followed that for a year and the problem disappeared," the proud coach said.