I get it. We, like many other nations, associate ourselves the with a single sport, and that’s fine unless we are a nation of 1.2 Billion people with the potential to play and WIN every other sport possible (look at China for example). Even with the blind prejudice against taking up sports as a career in general (cricket included), some fighters dare to walk the road less travelled and yet end up qualifying for the toughest competition on the planet against the best of all other nations.
So, what do we do in such a case? Well, some of us do this while the well-intentioned people like us are oblivious about how to support those who do try to make a mark in any sport other than Cricket & (lately) Kabaddi.
I understand that it’s tough to appreciate something that you don’t understand – that’s okay too because we’re here to help you know better. Once you know why and how something is tough, you will learn to admire the skill and the performer even more.
Gymnastics involves men and women performing various physical activities on mats, ropes and rings among other things. To gain points, you have to perform a specific set of ‘moves’ of ‘exercises’ in the correct fashion. The points are given equal weighting for the level of difficulty and perfection in its execution. The below video explains the new point system very lucidly:
Now that we understand the point system better, let’s talk about the vault that Dipa decided to start with – The Produnova. Sometimes in Gymnastics vaults are named after the athletes who first perform it (flawlessly) on the international stage. One such Russian Gymnast was Yelena Produnova. In 1999 at the University Games, Yelena won vault and beam titles and performed a “handspring double front vault” with perfect finesse which was then onwards christened as “The Produnova”. Because of the high risk involved, the vault has a difficulty value of 7.00. Watch Yelena do it below:
This artistic gymnast vault is also known as the “Vault of Death” because of the high risk of head injury involved in it. So far in human history, apart from Yelena herself, only FOUR other female gymnasts have SUCCESSFULLY performed this vault in a competition. This includes our own Dipa Karmakar who did it (Check the Wiki Entry here). But she didn’t get her name on the list in 2016, but had it already there since her 2014 Commonwealth Games. It is here that she won a bronze medal in the women’s vault final owing to her Produnova vault & became the 1st Indian woman gymnast to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games. (Skip to 01:44 in the below video to watch her perform the Produnova)
When asked about performing the Produnova, Simone Biles of the US said “I’m not trying to die,” to the New Yorker magazine earlier this year. She won the 3 Gold medals in Rio Olympics 2016.
Essentially, she is the player that has proven to do the impossible. So with more training, funding and SUPPORT from us Indians, maybe, one day, she will bag the Olympic Gold. (BTW, in order to support the games, you need to WATCH them every time they happen).
So, now that you know how difficult it was what she did, and how unique it was, and how brave it was, it’s time you spread the word and let other know what’s the big deal about Dipa Karmakar’s 4th place in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Kshitij runs The Patil Post and Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - a web development company focussed on E-Commerce implementations. Loves to eat, sell, write and talk. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveller and trekker at heart.
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