Tripura Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2015-11-06 11:38:09 BdST
But Dipa Karmakar, a 22-year-old Bengali girl from far-off Tripura, has slowly but steadily raised the prospects of India's first ever medal in world gymnastics.
In the recent World Gymnastics Championship, Dipa finished fifth in women's pole vault, not far behind the medal winners.
She is the first gymnast from India to qualify for the finals of the World Gymnastics Championship.
Tripura has always produced a rich crop of champion gymnasts like Mantu Debnath and Dipa's coach Bisheswar Nandi, but none of them has gone this far.
Her father Dulal Karmakar was a state-level weightlifter.
But Dipa is not happy with her fifth position performance, though it came in a very strong field of eight including champion vaulter Simone Billes of US.
"I want to win a medal and I will look to do that in the 2016 Rio Olympics. I have improved my position from seventh to fifth this time but it is not good enough," she told a public reception in state capital Agartala.
At that reception, she received Rs 2 million – Rs 1.5 million from Tripura Cricket Association and the rest from the state government – in recognition of her performance.
The Tripura government also promoted her a Sports Officer and her coach Nandi a deputy director.
She returned to a heroine's welcome with hundreds of fans turning up in Agartala airport. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar described her as the state's "Golden Girl".
In the Commonwealth Games 2014, Dipa won bronze medal in the pole vault, becoming the first Indian woman Gymnast to do so. This August, she also won bronze medal at the Hiroshima Asian Championships.
Since 2007, Dipa has won 77 medals including 67 gold, in state, national and international championships.