Dipa Karmakar Becomes First Indian Olympic Vault Finalist

Dipa Karmakar

If you were to bet on an artistic gymnast making it to an Olympic apparatus final, you probably wouldn’t bet on an Indian, let alone, Dipa Karmakar.

Karmakar, who turned 23 years old on August 9, has defied all odds to become the first Indian gymnast ever to secure one of eight spots in the Rio 2016 Olympics women’s vault final, which will be held on August 14. As the only gymnast to perform the extremely dangerous and rare Produnova vault at the competition on August 7, Karmakar earned an outstanding score of 14.850 to advance to the finals for a chance to win a medal for India in the sport.

Watch the video of her incredible feat below:

Born flat-footed in Tripura, India, Karmakar did not even have the right curvature to her feet to excel as a gymnast when she first started practicing at the age of six.

Faced with a lack of support for gymnasts, especially for female athletes, in their home nation, her coach Bisweshwar Nandi not only helped fix Karmakar’s foot problem but also overcame many obstacles to even get the equipment needed to train Karmakar.

With no money or fancy equipment available, Nandi utilized his own skills and resourcefulness to build some makeshift apparatus for Karmakar when she first started out. Such examples of Nandi’s handiwork and dedication to helping Karmakar succeed include constructing a springboard from second-hand parts of a discarded scooter and stacking several crash mats on top of each other to make a vault.

Since then, Karmakar went on to win a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Asian Gymnastics Championships, she finished fifth at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. In April, Karmakar became the first female Indian gymnast ever to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Here’s what others had to say about Karmakar’s impressive, history-making vault:


Happy belated birthday, Dipa, and congratulations on all of your successes thus far! You are an inspiration and keep on being the kickass brown girl that you are!

By Tina Lapsia

Tina Lapsia is an attorney working and living in NYC. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law … Read more ›