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My next target is Asian Games: Dipa Karmakar

Fresh from a historic bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, Gymnast Dipa Karmakar has not set her eyes on an Asian Games medal.

Dipa, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to get a CWG medal after standing third on the podium in the vault event, got a rousing welcome by the Sports Authority of India officials, members of the Indian Gymnastic Federation and aspiring young gymnasts at the Indira Gandhi International airport on Sunday.

Overwhelmed by the response to her amazing feat, Dipa is not only soaking in the moment but also looking ahead to the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea starting September 19.

“I am very happy with the fact that I could give India a medal in the Commonwealth Games. Being the first Indian woman to get a CWG medal is a great achievement and I am just thrilled. But now my next target is getting a medal in the Asian Games,” an elated but focused Dipa said.

Dipa’s combined score in two final vault attempts was 14.366 in comparison to Canada’s Elsabeth Black (Silver – 14.433) and England’s Claudia Fragpane (Gold – 14.633). Dipa admitted a silver or a gold was possible.

“Getting a bronze is good and I am really happy but yes, I do feel that I missed a silver or a gold. I could have got them. I missed the silver by .1, but there is always a next time,” said the Agartala-born gymnast.

Dipa, 22, did not forget to thank her coach and mentor Biswasar Nandi. Dipa was six years old when Nandi took charge of her and the ward sure has done him proud.

“I will give all the credit to Nandi Sir. He is instrumental in taking me where I am. It’s his practice routine before the Games that set the tone for my medal-winning performance,” said the young Dipa.

While many gymnasts had criticised the lack of preparation and training camps ahead of the mega event, Dipa had no such grudges against the concerned authorities.

“The preparation was good. SAI and the Gymnastics Federation put up a camp at the IG Stadium before we went for the Games and that really helped us get into the groove. So I would like to thank SAI and our federation to have given us a good platform to give our best for the nation,” said Dipa.

Minutes after Dipa won the bronze in Scotland, congratulatory messages poured in from India with friends, relatives and officials joining the victory celebrations. Tripura sports minister Shahid Chowdhury was also quick to hail Dipa’s effort.

“It is just overwhelming to get such a response from all quarters. I have and am getting congratulatory messages from all over. The Tripura government has also taken note and it feels so good,” said a beaming Dipa.

Having been with Dipa for 14 long years, Nandi has tears of joy in his eyes when speaks about his ward.

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