- 'I will continue doing the Produnova, not thinking of any other vault at the moment.I don't think it's a death vault, if we practice everything becomes easy, my coach made me practice.'
Experts may terms it as the 'Vault of Death' but trailblazer Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar doesn't agree and says she will continue performing the Produnova despite the dangers that come with the daredevil act.
Karmakar, who was the first Indian gymast to qualify for the Olympics, exceeded expectations by entering the vault finals in Rio before finishing fourth to miss the medal by a whisker.
Popularly known as the 'Vault of Death', the best of gymnasts hesitate in attempting the Produnova but not Dipa.
"I will continue doing the Produnova, not thinking of any other vault at the moment.I don't think it's a death vault, if we practice everything becomes easy, my coach made me practice," Dipa said on Saturday after returning home to a rousing reception.
"Everything is risky, if you practice properly everything becomes easy. I made Dipa practice the vault a lot and thus the Produnova has become easy for her," coach Bisweshwar Nandi, who stood alongside her protege, added.
Recalling her experience at the finals, Dipa animatedly discussed how people cheered for her because of the Produnova.
"I became famous for my vault in the Olympics some called me 'Produnova Girl' others called me 'Dipa Produnova', a lot of people were cheering for me in the finals. I felt I made the right decision by choosing this vault," she said.
Asserting that nothing has changed in her life, Karmakar is extremely proud that she brought gymnastics to limelight in India.
"My life is still the same, I am still a gymnast, I still want to win a medal. But yes,I feel nice that because of me people got to know about gymnastic in India," the Indian youngster said.
Elated that she has been recommended for the Khel Ratna, the 23 year old from Tripura would rather have her coach win the Dronacharya award.
"My coach deserves the Dronacharya award more than me (getting Khel Ratna)," she said.
Coach Nandi, who has been nominated for Dronacharya, was all praise for his pupil as well claiming he always knew Dipa would qualify for the finals. "I am satisfied with Dipa's performance, had we won a medal I would have felt better but I'm happy."
Comparing India with China, coach Nandi believes India has a bright future ahead in gymnastics.
"Seeing Dipa, others will also get inspired and by 2020 we will have atleast 2-3 more girls participating in gymnastics. We have a long way to go," he said.
"China started before us, in 2008 they won 8 medals. But this time out of the entire team, only one qualified for the finals. We have participated for the 1st time and were very close to a medal," he added.
Overwhelmed by the reception she received on her arrival, the gymnast said she still feels disappointed about missing the medal by the smallest of margins.
"I was touched by the welcome I received, considering I didn't get a medal. I didn't expect this kind of welcome. It would have been nice had I won a medal, now I have to definitely do something in Tokyo for the people of India," Dipa said.
Trying to fulfill her father's dreams who wanted her to join gymnastics, Dipa's inspiration came in the form of Ashish Kumar who won the Bronze medal in gymnastics in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
"My father liked gymnastics he wanted me to pursue it. Earlier I was not interested but when I saw Ashish bhaiya winning in 2010 and I thought girls should also win," she said.