New Delhi: India’s medal prospects in the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, have received a major jolt as ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar has been ruled out of the multi-nation event.
Karmakar’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi confirmed it to Firstpost at the ongoing selection trials for the Commonwealth Games at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Stadium.
“She has not fully recovered from the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery that she underwent last year in April. The movements in gymnastics require constant flexing and twisting of knees and we don’t want to rush her into action,” Nandi said.
Karmakar won a bronze medal in the 2014 edition of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, becoming the first Indian to do so. She followed it up with another third-place finish at the Asian Gymnastics Championships in Hiroshima, Japan. She also finished fourth at the 2014 edition of the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, besides securing another historic fourth-place result at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which earned her the Khel Ratna award, the country’s highest honour for sportspersons.
Karmakar injured her knee last year during practice and has since been out of action. Post her surgery, she missed the 2017 Asian Championships and World Championships.
“We resumed training only one or one-and-a-half months back. She is yet to recover fully. We are focusing on specific exercises to strengthen her ankle and knees. We are eyeing Asian Games now,” Nandi said.
The coach also informed that Karmakar, though upset, has taken the setback in her stride and is training hard, but strategically.
“She was obviously a bit upset, but we made her understand that it (participation at the CWG) may not be good for her in the long run. We are also making sure it doesn’t affect her confidence and morale,” he said.
“She is fit enough to participate, but we don’t want to approach the Games low on confidence, neither do we want to go there just to participate. Any event that we go from now, we will aim to win a medal for the country,” he added.
Though Karmakar has resumed training at the Indira Gandhi Stadium – she trained for seven hours on Monday – she is not practising the Produnova vault. Termed as the ‘vault of death’, the double front somersaults performed in a tucked position – catapulted the 24-year-old to instant recognition during the Commonwealth Games in 2014. She performed the vault at the Rio Olympics as well.
“Produnova puts a lot of stress on the knees. We are not practising it now, but we have definitely not done away with it. We will start practising it once her knee gains enough strength,” Nandi said.
The team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be announced at the end of national trials on 14 February.