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Why Dipa Karmakar may not win a medal in Tokyo

India’s latest sporting darling and sensation gymnast Dipa Karmakar is targeting Simone Biles and Tokyo to clinch that elusive medal she missed last month at Rio.

She said:

“Simone Biles is the best. My aim is to beat her. I am preparing in such a way that even if I cannot get the better of her, I end up with a silver.”

She added:

“I was happy with my finish until I came to my room. When I got to know the reaction of the entire country, the feeling of disappointment set in. If only I could win a medal, I could have gifted the country and all my fellow Bengalis something.”

Can Karmakar do it and that too in four years time at Tokyo?

It’s difficult to tell.

She has self-belief and confidence.

Historically, women gymnasts have performed best in their teens and by those standards, Dipa will be an old maid at 27.

Is it impossible? No, it isn’t.

But it will be extremely arduous. 

Yogeshwar Dutt, to the nation’s chagrin, found that out the hard way when he lost his way in his opening wrestling bout.

Karmakar has refused to change her coach Bishweshwar Nandi in exchange for a ‘foreign hand’.

Karmakar qualified quite late for this year’s Games. Perhaps, she could have done much better had she more time to prepare.

But that’s past.

She will have to improve substantially in the other vault routines to surpass her superlative rival, Biles.

This can be  achieved with the help of a foreign coach.

Like Andy Murray, she may need  an Ivan Lendl to secure silverware.

Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps, foreign coaches are better suited to mould our athletes when they are much younger—say, in their teens.

That said, her progress needs to be monitored over the coming years to ensure that she is on the right track towards achieving her goal.

It would be interesting to see what former top international gymnasts and their respective coaches have to say about her Tokyo  prospects.

One of them could be hired as a consultant to her current coach Nandi to add the desired variety to his ‘onetrick pony‘ .

She deserves all the assistance she can get. She truly does. And she needs to request it when she has all the attention. 

Leander Paes: My race

“In this modern age of living in limelight,  everybody wants to be a hero. People will bark,  let them bark,  they will look bad themselves. I will run my race. Till a junior comes and says ‘Lee,  I am beating you all the time’,  till I am winning Grand Slams,  I will continue to play. I had to earn it and others will also have to earn it. ”

—Leander Paes. 

Rohit Brijnath: Presence

“I don’t know how to fix an ancient civilization’s uncertain romance with sport. I have no idea how to build a sports culture. But I do know that among the best gifts you can offer an athlete is presence.” 

—Rohit Brijnath. 

K L Rahul: Body and tattoos

“My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story.” 

—K L Rahul. 

Sanjay Manjrekar: Vegetarianism

“Yes,  vegetarianism is supposed to be healthy and all that,  but I have seen many fat,  unhealthy vegetarians to know that it is more about eating less and eating healthy,  than being a vegetarian or non-vegetarian.” 

—Sanjay Manjrekar. 

Pulella Gopichand: Physical literacy

“In the last few years, somewhere down the line, we have lost the importance of physical movement. We have moved a lot more towards alphabetical literacy, numerical literacy and forgotten what the basics of physical literacy are. I think in our race to become more and more educated alphabetically,  we have lost the fundamental of physical movement and it brings us back to our early days when our own native games used to have so much physical literacy in them.”

—Pulella Gopichand. 

Pulella Gopichand: Happiness index

“Sport is fundamental if we want our happiness index to go up. The physical activity brings new brain cells. Sports, physical exercise  and education have a lot of synergy. Sport needs to be up there.” 

—Pulella Gopichand. 

Pulella Gopichand: Playing and coaching

“… as a player,  you are internally driven. It’s about you,  your body and mind working in unison on the court. As a coach,  it’s the same but in reverse—you take that drive and channel it onto the player.” 

—Pulella Gopichand. 

Ravichandran Ashwin: 150% madness

“I am 100 per cent method, 80 per cent skill and 150 per cent madness.” 

—Ravichandran Ashwin. 

Arthur Ashe: Real joy

“You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself,  your own highest standards,  and when you reach your limits,  that is real joy.” 

—Arthur Ashe. 

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