New Delhi, Aug 7 (PTI): Star Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar is likely to be picked in the Indian contingent for the Asian Games following a request to the Sports Ministry by the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) to consider her case despite not fitting the selection criteria set by the government.
Dipa, who brought Indian gymnastics into the spotlight by finishing a creditable fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was dropped from the final list of women gymnastics squad for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games from September 23 for failing to fulfil the ministry’s selection criteria.
The Sports Ministry’s selection criteria states that, “In individual events during the last 12 months prior to the commencement of the event (Asian Games), the performance of the sportspersons should not be less than the performance achieved by eighth position holder of the 2018 Asian Games in measurable sports.”
Dipa, however, topped the trials held in Bhubaneswar on July 11 and 12 and was part of the initial squad sent to the Asian Games organisers before the July 15 deadline, but was later axed for not fulfilling the ministry’s criteria.
“Dipa has changed the face of Indian gymnastics. She has not been competing for the last few years because of injuries and a doping suspension but we need to consider that she has topped the trials.
A disappointed Dipa then approached the ministry for relaxation and even the Gymnastics Federation of India had shot off a request letter to Sports Authority of India to consider her case,” GFI selection committee chairman Ashok Sahoo told PTI.
Dipa underwent surgery to treat her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in 2017 but a nagging knee problem kept her away from major competitions, forcing her to also miss the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart.
Dipa also missed the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as she could not qualify due to an injury and cancellation of the Asian Championships.
The gymnast then served a 21-month ban ending July 10 this year after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
“We have written to SAI (Sports Authority of India) to consider Dipa’s case and she is likely to be given relaxation. We are pretty positive about it,” he added.
“The football teams have also been given relaxation and so Dipa too should be considered and we have received positive response from SAI. She is likely to cleared this week,” said Sahoo.
A ministry official also said that Dipa is likely to be given relaxation for her contribution to Indian gymnastics.
“Dipa and the federation (GFI) have written to us requesting for eligibility criteria relaxation and the matter will come up for discussion this week and, in all probability, she will be considered,” the official said.