History of Gymnastics : Gymnastics originated in ancient Greece, and was originally intended for military training, where it was used by soldiers to prepare for war. It is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance, agility, endurance and control.
By the end of the nineteenth century, men’s gymnastics competition was popular enough to be included in the first “modern” Olympic Games in 1896. Whereas for women, it was only during the 1920s, that gymnastics events were organised. The first women’s Olympic competition was held in 1928, in Amsterdam. It was primitive, involving only synchronized calisthenics and track and field.
Most forms of competitive gymnastics events are governed by the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) which was founded in Liege in 1881. Each country has its own national governing body affiliated to FIG.
India & Gymnastics
India has always been smitten by cricket and a sport like Gymnastics is only an afterthought. As a result, it’s extremely difficult to raise money for expensive equipment, advanced training and also the lack of infrastructure and facilities are big hurdles to be concurred.
Though Gymnastics being an age old sport, India could score a medal only at the 2010 Commonwealth Games when Ashish Kumar won the bronze medal (first-ever medal in gymnastics), and Dipa Karmakar scored a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games making her the first ever Indian female gymnast to do so.
Things to know about Dipa Karmakar
1. Born on 09 Aug 1993, at Agartala, Tripura started practising gymnastics when she was 6 years old.
2. She had flat feet (a postural deformity in which entire sole of the foot touches the ground) when she first enrolled into gymnastics as her coach, veteran Bisbeshwar Nandi once recalled, “I still remember Dipa coming to me as a flat-footed kid, which is not good for a gymnast. It affects the spring in her jump,” he told Firstpost. They had to work very hard to get the curve in the kids feet.
3. She has won 77 medals including 67 gold, in state, national and international championships.
4. The 23-year-old gymnast secured the qualification for artistic gymnastics with a score of 52.698 points in the qualifier for Olympics.
5. She is one of the only 5 gymnasts who have performed the ‘dangerous’ Produnova vault. She is said to have done about 1,000 repetitions of the move, according to a media report.
6. Karmakar’s father is a weightlifting coach and has trained ‘lifters in the Andaman Islands.
What is a Produnova vault
Named after Yelena Produnova, the first person to complete the vault in 1999; it is an Artistic gymnastics vault.
The vault consists of a front handspring and two front somersaults. It is one of the hardest and most dangerous vaults being done today in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics.
The manoeuvre is considered dangerous as it can cause spinal injury if the gymnast lands on the wrong foot, or worse, can even turn fatal.
Controversy with Produnova Vault
Gymnastics itself is a grisly, injury-prone sport. In 1980, gymnast Elena Mukhina fell during a tumbling pass two weeks before the Olympics. She was paralyzed from the neck down. The Produnova is among the most extreme moves a gymnast can attempt. There have been calls for banning this vault for the extremely high risk involved in it.
Controversy sparked when the Egyptian gymnast, Fadwa Mahmound almost killed herself by nearly landing on her neck in her first Produnova attempt during the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Antwerp, Belgium.
Why is Dipa attempting the Produnova Vault?
On Aug. 07, Dipa made history in Rio de Janeiro as the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the women’s vault finals at the Olympics. She came in eighth after performing the Produnova vault.
Karmakar is all set to script the history for India and she has decided to keep the stakes high. The gymnastics scoring system rewards highly difficult, dramatic moves. A gymnast’s score combines two numbers: the difficulty score (how challenging a move or routine is) and the execution score (how well a gymnast performs). Because the Produnova vault is so insanely hard, the gymnast gets a very high score for it. The difficulty rating of produnova is 7.0, the highest of all. If an athlete executes this, there is a sure shot chance of winning the event. Successful attempt of Produnova vault confirms the winning of medal at the Olympics and Dipa is all set to take it head on.
14 Aug 2016 : All eyes are set on the final event scheduled on 14 Aug 2016 and Dipa is the dark horse for the medal. We have very high hopes with her and wish her luck to script the history for India Gymnastics which will motivate the many other small girls back home to dream beyond the realms of reality and achieve the same!!
Had our System nurtured Budhiya Singh well, we never know he could have also been face of India in Olympics like Dipa Karmakar.