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Dipa Karmakar Sealed Place In Gymnastics Team For Asian Games 2023 After Doping Ban

Olympian gymnast Dipa Karmakar on Wednesday sealed her place in the Indian gymnastics team for the Asian Games 2023 after winning the selection trials held at Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Apart from Dipa Karmakar, the Asian Games team announced by the Gymnastics Federation of India also includes five male gymnasts and three female gymnasts. 

Dipa made a successful return to competitive gymnastics after serving a 21-month doping suspension. He shot a score of 47.05 to take the top spot in the all-around event. 

Meanwhile, Pranati Das finished second behind Dipa Karmakar in the trials with a score of 45.80. Pratistha Samanta also confirmed her place in the team with a third place finish in the vault event. 

Pranati Nayak did not take part in the two-day trials but has confirmed her place in the team for the Asian Games in Hangzhou on the basis of her score (44.43) at the Asian Championships 2023 held in Singapore last month.

Top gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who made it to the Indian team for the Asian Games, said, “I have given my best performance and I will try to do even better in the future.”

It is noteworthy that 29-year-old Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian gymnast to compete in the Olympics, was suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after she tested positive for the banned substance higenamine. This ban ended on 10 July 2023. 

After topping the trials on the first day, Deepa wrote a post on Twitter thanking her coach and shared her feelings after the trials.

Deepa wrote in her tweet, “It is very emotional to return to the place I consider home. I am thankful to my coach, Nandi sir, who helped me prepare for the trials.”

For Padma Shri and Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna awardee as well as Commonwealth Games and Asian Championships medalist Deepa, her selection in the Asian Games team is a significant achievement considering the challenges faced by her after suspension. 

Dipa Karmakar’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi told PTI, “It is not easy to make a comeback after such a long time, so I am very happy. However, she is still not at her best and has a slight pain in her right knee, but the Asian Games is still some time away and I am sure she will only get better from here.”

Also in the men’s senior individual category, Haryana’s Yogeshwar Singh secured the first position with a score of 76.30. Odisha’s Rakesh Patra finished second with a score of 76.20 and Tapan Mohanty, also from Odisha, came third with a score of 74.60. 

Yogeshwar Singh also did not take part in the selection trials and has been included in the team on the basis of his scores in the Asian Championship 2023. 

Gymnast Satyajit Mondal has been included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games squad despite sustaining an injury during the trials. His final selection will depend on his fitness ahead of the Asian Games. Anas Ali Shaikh has been named in the squad as a reserve athlete for Satyajit Mandal. 

Organized by the Gymnastics Federation of India in association with the Department of Sports and Youth Services, Odisha, the country’s top gymnasts competed in the event to qualify for the Asian Games.

India has so far won only one medal in the gymnastic competition at the Asian Games, which was won by Indian gymnast Ashish Kumar (bronze) in the floor exercise event at Guangzhou 2010.

Ashish Kumar was also a part of the selection trials held in Bhubaneswar but could not make it to the team.

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