I am Senior Assistant Editor with the Forbes India magazine in Mumbai. A journalist for over a decade, I am also the author of Ramakant Achrekar: Master Blaster’s Master, a biography of the great cricket coach, and Vinod Kambli: The Lost Hero, a biography of the former India cricketer. Apart from my love for news and writing, I am passionate about cricket, movies and music
Dipa Karmakar |22
Dipa Karmakar was left speechless when cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar praised her for bringing laurels to the country during a felicitation ceremony for Commonwealth Games medallists. “It was the best compliment I’ve ever got. It was my lucky day… I remember the date [August 8, 2014] clearly because it happened on the eve of my birthday,” says the gymnast from Agartala in Tripura.
She admits she has a memory for her achievements: Right from when she began winning medals at the age of six to the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, where Karmakar became the first Indian woman gymnast to win a medal in the history of the Games, after bagging a bronze in the vault event. There, she also achieved the distinction of becoming only the third woman in the world to successfully land the Produnova vault—one of the most difficult involving a handsprint and two somersaults.
In 2015, she won a bronze at the ART Gymnastics Asian Championships in Japan and finished fifth at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow after becoming the first Indian to qualify for the finals. Karmakar was also honoured with the Arjuna Award last year.
Her performances in a sport that is low-profile and nascent in India are laudable, but Karmakar remains grounded. “The year 2015 was a mixed bag. My goal was to win a medal at the World Championships and qualify for the Olympics. I missed out on that… that’s my regret,” says Karmakar, who is currently pursuing her MA in political science.
Her coach Bisweswar Nandi can identify with her dissatisfaction. “She’s ziddi [stubborn]. She keeps practising till she’s satisfied,” he says. And she stays hungry for more. “I have got a lot from my country,” she says. “It’s time for me to give back something.”