Rio 2016 Olympics: Dipa Karmakar, who created history by becoming India’s first gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games, got embroiled in an unseemly controversy with the Indian authorities over her physio. Turns out Dipa Karmakar is injury prone. Also, she has been doing a move that is considered extremely dangerous and one that all gymnasts fear to do as it can get them killed – it is called the Produnova, ‘the vault of death’. It is named after Russian gymnast Yelena Produnova, who was the first to use it. Now, that Dipa has qualified further in Olympics, we find officials running to and fro to fulfill a wish she expressed to Sports Minister Vijay Goel in Rio, while earlier they had termed it ‘wasteful’.
Since it is so dangerous and can cause horrific injuries, Dipa had requested Sports Authority of India (SAI) to allow her physio Sajad Ahmad to travel with her to the Olympic Games at Rio, just in case there was an emergency or to take care of the daily niggles that keep cropping up in the life of the gymnasts since it is such a high-impact game. These moves push the athletes to extremes of endurance – both muscle and bone and injuries are common. It is something the gymnasts have to live with, but most end up not attempting to do moves that are too dangerous – for Dipa, that was not an option she could take.
In such a situation, while an official OK should have been a certainty, this did not happen in the case of Dipa. However, an official denied her request by reportedly tagging it as ‘wasteful’. Dipa’s family has revealed that now that Dipa has emerged as a strong contender for a gymnastics medal at the Olympics, officials are willing to do her bidding and are in fact rushing her physio to Rio to ensure she remains fit for her next outing in Rio on August 14.
However, this has not come about merely because of Dipa, her managing to qualify, or even her injury scare. It needed the intervention of Sports Minister Vijay Goel who was in Rio recently and met Dipa there. To a question from Goel asking her if she needed anything, Dipa had requested that her physio be sent over to Rio as soon as possible.
In all fairness to officials, they had denied requests like those of Dipa to all other sportsmen heading for the Olympics too. While there is an Indian physio at the Games, he is supposed to attend to all athletes and may or may not be familiar with every sportsman or sportswoman’s individual requirements!