Star gymnast Dipa Karmakar will compete at the Senior Artistic Gymnastics National Championships after a gap of eight years in Bhubaneswar next week. The prestigious event will be held from January 2 to 4. Besides Dipa, the championship will feature the likes of Tokyo Olympian Pranati Nayak, Yogeshwar Singh, Rakesh Patra, Tapan Mohanty, Saif Tamboli, Gaurav Kumar among others.
“Dipa will compete at the Senior nationals. The last time she had participated at the domestic event was in 2015. This will be here last nationals,” her coach Bisweswar Nandi told PTI.
The 30-year-old from Agartala, the first female gymnast from India to compete in the Olympics, was ignored for the Asian Games despite topping the trials as she didn’t meet SAI’s selection criteria of players needing to score equivalent to the eighth ranked gymnast in the last Asian Games.
It was since then she couldn’t participate in any event following her 21-month suspension due to a doping violation.
Nandi, however, hasn’t given up hope on his ward’s chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics. Dipa is recovering from a nagging knee issue for quite some time now.
“She is gradually reaching her 100 per cent and will compete in few international events next year. Of course, she will have to do well in the selection trials to be in the Indian team,” Nandi said.
Odisha is all geared up to host the Junior and Senior Artistic Gymnastics National Championships at the Gymnastics Centre in the Kalinga Stadium.
The Junior Championship will begin on Thursday, followed by the Senior Championship from January 2.
A total of 750 participants, including 550 players, 120 support staff and 100 officials from across the country, are expected descend on the state for the championship which will see the participation of 28 affiliated units from the Gymnastics Federation of India.
Sudhir Mital, President, Gymnastics Federation of India, said: “We are pleased to host the Junior and Senior Artistic Gymnastics National Championship here in Bhubaneswar which has the best of infrastructure and facilities to conduct a National Championship. “This championship will give the entire junior and senior participants experience of showcasing their skills at world class venue.”
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