Dipa Karmakar becomes first Indian gymnast to qualify for Olympics

OLY-2016-RIO-ARTISTIC-GYMNASTICS-TEST-IND Dipa Karmakar performs at the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics test event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena in the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday | AFP

Top Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar created history on Sunday by becoming the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games.

She produced a strong show, at the Final Qualifier and Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro, finishing ninth in the first of the four subdivisions of the women's artistic category.

Dipa garnered a total score of 52.698 points. Her final rankings will be known only after completion of the event with competition in three other subdivisions going on currently.

Her first vault, the much difficult Produnova, gave Dipa 15.066 points, the highest among the 14 competitors. But a poor show in the uneven bars took her points down as she collected 11.700, the second worse among the 14 participants.

The Tripura girl secured 13.366 and 12.566 points in beam and floor exercises.

Gymnastic officials had said that her Rio Games berth is more or less assured after the strong show.

"Dipa was 100 per cent assured of an Olympic berth with this 52.698 score. There were three subdivisions to go but she has already beaten gymnasts from three countries. So she has qualified," international referee Deepak Kagra told PTI.

"This Test event has participants from 33 countries and since her score was above the participants of at least three countries, she finished in the top 30 country-wise. That was enough for her to qualify for Rio Olympics," he added.

The 22-year-old could not clinch an Olympic berth in the World Championships in November last as she finished outside the podium (fifth place).

She was earlier put as second reserve for the ongoing Olympic Test event in Rio but was informed last month that she had sneaked into the shortlist of participants.

Dipa had created history by becoming the first woman gymnast to win a medal -- a bronze -- in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. She then became the first Indian woman gymnast to feature in the finals of World Championships in November last.

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