New Delhi: Tripura gymnast Dipa Karmakar has been recommended for Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour, sources said on Wednesday . A decision will be taken on Thursday earlier said.
Dipa was the first Indian to qualify for the gymnastics event in the quadrennial Summer Games. Dipa narrowly missed the bronze medal in the vault finals on Sunday.
Apart from Dipa, shooter Jitu Rai will also be in contention for the Khel Ratna, according to sources. Jitu also participated in the Rio Olympics but failed to win a medal.
Dipa’s childhood trainer Bisweshwar Nandi is likely to get the Dronacharya Award, the highest honour for coaches. Both struggled against odds. Success at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, when Dipa claimed a bronze on the vault, had initially failed to change her fortunes.
With next to no funding available, Dipa had to make do with practising her skills on out-of-date apparatus. When Delhi hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games, manufacturer Gymnova gave her the cast offs from that competition. Until three months ago, those were the equipment she used even though the world of gymnastics had moved on to more high-tech gear.
But when she qualified for the Olympics at the Rio test event in April, the recognition and funding finally started to flood in. “Dipa has made India proud and brought glory to its name. She has achieved the feat through her determination. Lack of resources never came in her way,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Sunday night, Dipa caught the attention of entire nation as she attempted to win a historic medal. But she missed the bronze by a whisker.