Dipa Karmakar: Role Model for Indian Women and Girls

May/27/2022 / by Team SEEMA
Dipa Karmakar
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Dipa Karmakar, the 28-year-old Indian artistic gymnast, continued her push for awareness that Indian women be involved in sports when she competed in the Rio Olympics in 2016. Dipa was a winner even before being part of the Olympic 2016 lineup. This inspirational burst of energy and gymnastic style had judges’ sights on her early on.

Dipa Karmakar, the 4’11” Indian bundle of energy, was born in Agartala, India, on August 9, 1993. She is not married as of this writing. Her current net worth is not known, but it has been reported as being between $100,000.00 and $8 million in US dollars. Dipa has exhibited exceptional strength and litheness, which puts her in the artistic category of gymnasts.

Dipa Karmakar was the first Indian gymnast to compete in the Olympics in over 50 years and the first to win at any ranking, which puts her in a position of leader to Indian women of all ages. Being part of the 2016 Olympics in gymnastics proved that she was able to work through the sometimes physical pain of her flat feet that often deterred her springing and standing on tiptoe.

Talk surrounding Dipa Karmakar’s label of “suspended” by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) continues to be somewhat of a mystery. This likely erroneous designation meant no-go for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The shroud of silence seems daunting and threatens to hold her in a negative light, but those around her refuse to believe that she took part in unethical or illegal activities regarding her suspension. No one has specified a reason, which makes this even more strange. So Dipa waits patiently for another chance at a win for Indian women whether in sports or life in general.

Dipa Karmakar has won three prestigious Indian awards outside of the Olympics. Her Padma Shri award was especially thrilling since it is one of the top awards given to civilians in India. She credited her beloved coach with her win and dedicated the award to him. She was the first Indian gymnast in the women’s category to win a bronze medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She won the Arjuna Award in Gymnastics in 2015 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2016, both in India.

It could seem like the world turned against Dipa at a time when her struggle was so strong. Repeated injuries and the pandemic wreaked havoc on her gymnastic dreams of being included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Though her dreams of competing as a gymnast in future Olympic Games might need to be shelved, her perseverance and positive outlook will go a long way in her search for finding her place in the world. 

Dipa came so close to a win at the Rio Olympics but did not quite medal. She did come in fourth place with her vault performance. In spite of her near miss, Dipa Karmakar became so beloved by so many who watched in awe the strength and courage she put into her performance.

Dipa has overcome disappointment many times in her 28 years. She will forever be a role model and mentor for Indian women in their struggle to gain acceptance in the world of sports. 

Seema

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