Indian superstar Dipa Karmakar not only made a massive impact at the Rio 2016 Olympics but also made sure that Indians get some much-needed information on artistic gymnastics. After all, not many had heard of either the produnova vault or the tsukahara vault prior to the women's vault final event at Olympics 2016.
While Dipa now eyes a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there could be yet another Indian gymnast — Asmita Pal — competing alongside her in the gymnastics event on the grand stage. There are a quite things in common between Dipa and Asmita: Both of them belong to Tripura, and have been practising at the now-famous Vivekananda Byamghar in Agartala, under the tutelage of Bisweswar Nandi, who could be in line to receive the Dronacharya Award soon.
There's one more thing that is similar between Dipa, 23, and Asmita, 15 — both have fought their way through struggles and are still battling strong for more glory.
However, as long as proper infrastructure is not in place, it is a difficult task to achieve for the coach as well as the athlete, no matter how determined they are. "You can't do gymnastics on an empty stomach. You can't play sports on an empty stomach," Bisweswar Nandi told NDTV. "You need infrastructure. If the facilities are available with the coach then it's not difficult to nurture talent."
Asmita, the 15-year-old athlete, has won 15 gold medals across various state and national gymnastics competitions.
The best thing that Asmita could have asked for is proper support from her parents. Her father, Arun Chandra Pal, has mentioned that he has woken up as early as 3 a.m. several times to walk all the way and drop her daughter to the training centre in Badharghat.
Asmita belongs to an economically weak family but that hasn't stopped her parents from making all efforts to provide her the proper diet as long as they can afford it. "My parents work very hard for me. They are forced to drop work and take me for practice," said Asmita. "Often we have to walk and that takes a long time. My dream is to be like Dipa [Karmakar] didi," she adds.
Dipa also hopes that her younger counterpart receives the much-needed support. "There are a lot of talented young gymnasts in Agartala and I have high hopes that many of them, with proper grooming, can make it to the Olympics," said the star Olympian.