Dipa Karmakar took a leap of faith at the Rio Olympics 2016. She might have missed a podium finish by a whisker but the glory was all hers to take. Cut to her hometown of Agartala, two more kids have taken on the mantle to become the best gymnasts in the country. 17-year-old Abhishek Singha and 15-year-old Asmita Pal are stories of inspiration. Ashmita has not yet participated in any of the junior championships but the performances in the sub-junior levels have left many in awe. She has shown better potential than many in her age group.
One of her many performances saw her landing a place in the World School championship in Turkey. She, like Dipa couldn’t score a medal but the accolades she won, only goes on to prove her potential. Even Dipa Karmakar’s Dronacharya award winner coach Bisheswar Nandi believes that Ashmita to be a notch better than Dipa. Describing her performance at the age of 15, he told TOI that Ashmita has a rare level of perfection in her moves, which even Dipa couldn’t achieve. Though at home, Asmita’s parents; father who is a daily labourer and mother, who is a domestic help find it extremely difficult to manage her basic diet. Although, Asmita has taken Dipa Karmakar as a role model and is hell-bent on following her footsteps. Speaking of Dipa she says that the Olympian often helps her train.
Abhishek Singha, on the other hand got involved with gymnastic due to his ‘unnatural’ body movements. He lives in the BSS sports school right next to the gym. His home is a good 20 km away from the academy, making him visit his parents only on weekends. His father is school bus driver.. and it is this reminder of poverty that motivates him to excel in whatever he does. He has participated in competitions all over the country in a very short span of time. According to his coach Gourango Chandra Pal, his 360 vault is a sight to behold, for it is a sight of perfection. Pal said that the 360 vault is a 720 version of what Dipa did at the Rio Olympics 2016. Right now, Abhishek is the one one known apart from Dipa to be performing such vaults in Tripura.
Abhishek and Asmita are two of the many children who have been infected with a ray of hope from Dipa Karmakar’s Leap of faith at the Rio Olympics. Dipa Karmakar made an entire cricket crazy nation watch the gymnastics final at midnight. And when Dipa returned from the Olympics, the entire town stood up to pay tributes to a hero. And yet, Dipa’s biggest contribution will always be the children, who looking up to her, shine in the path of glory she had paved.