Dipa Karmakar had made history by becoming the first Indian gymnast to compete at an Olympic final.
“My next aim is to beat Simone Biles in Tokyo 2020, that’s my target. I know very well that if I aspire to beat the champion, I would at least finish with a gold or silver,” the 23-year-old, who was given a golden crown at a felicitation ceremony of FD Block Sarbojanin Puja Committee in Kolkata, said.
Post Rio, Dipa has been on the road attending various felicitation ceremonies across India but the diminutive Agartala gymnast said she was on track and her fitness training has already begun for the last two weeks.
“This is my rest period which will go on till the Durga Puja festival. For the first time in five years I would be able to spend time with family during the Puja festival. But my fitness training has begun, I’m training about four hours in the evening,” she said.
“I’m getting this overwhelming support from billions of countrymen without winning a medal. This is not an added pressure but a motivation for Tokyo.”
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Dipa finished fourth in the women’s vault final in the artistic gymnastics.
She scored an average of 15.066 points, a mere 0.15 less than the eventual bronze medal winner Giulia Steingruber (15.216) of Switzerland and Dipa said she could only realise the significance of her performance only after reaching India.
“I never expected so much of outpouring of support. I remember telling my parents don’t worry about my return I would take an autorickshaw from airport. Little did I know that thousands would gather to receive me. I realised it only after reaching,” she said.
Dipa, who had scored 14.850 in the qualifying round, executed the Produnova, which consists of a front handspring and two front somersaults, levelled as the ‘death vault’.
It is so difficult and has the extreme difficulty score, that even its inventor, Elena Produnova, landed it standing up just once in her career and many stay away from performing it.
“Every sport has a risk factor. Even in cricket if the ball hits the head anything can happen. It’s how you master it. I’ve trained so hard under my coach that I never feared it,” she added.