When gritty Dipa Karmakar united India even in her defeat


Amidst continuous misery and utter dejection, Rio Olympics gave India a new star in the world of gymnastics. Dipa Karmakar almost achieved a near-impossible feat even though she may have missed out on a medal by a whisker.

Dipa, from the north eastern state of Tripura, emerged as one of the few shining spots on a disastrous Indian campaign as she ended up just outside a medal bracket with 15.066 points after putting on a superb display in the eight-woman vault final.

The gold expectedly went to favourite Simon Biles from the US who topped the table with near-flawless execution which fetched her the highest score of 15.966.

Dipa Karmakar

The silver went to Russia’s Maria Paseka (15.253) and the bronze was bagged by Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland (15.216).

Dipa’s superb show in a sport that is not popular in the country lit up the gloomy day which started with the the exit of London Games bronze medal winner Saina to further dampen the spirits of the contingent on the ninth day of competitions.

But, Dipa appears to have won the hearts and minds of every Indian even in her defeat. It’s not that often when you see an individual single-handedly uniting the whole nation with just one performance. The fact that it happened at the stroke of midnight when Indians were preparing to start the celebration for the 70th anniversary of India’s independence day, it became even sweeter.

Dipa’s grit and determination to win laurels for her country didn’t go unnoticed as the girl from Tripura became a dominating theme of social media conversations all through the night.

Messages applauding her efforts began to pour in thick and fast from every quarter. Actor Akshay Kumar spoke for the entire country when he said, “You may have lost but you’ve won a million hearts and inspired a lot more to walk your path. Cheers to your spirit #Dipa Karmakar! #Proud (sic)”

Film director, Shekhar Kapur, nicely summed it up when he wrote, “Its not about winning medals. Its about breaking through all stereotypes n proving u are there with the best, u inspire us all #DipaKarmakar”

A graceful Dipa hid her emotions and didn’t make her pain public. But, there were millions who cried for her loss as if it was not the athlete but they, who had missed out on the medal.

A confident Dipa later said that she believed she had placed herself in good stead to mount a successful medal chase four years from now. And no one disagreed with her. If there’s one athlete India can rely on for a medal in future, it is Dipa.

Here are some social media comments being posted on Dipa Karmakar.