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Dipa Karmakar qualifies for vault finals in Olympics

Rio Olympics 2016

Rio de Janeiro : Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar scripted history as she became the first Indian to make the cut for the individual vault finals in her debut Olympic Games after finishing 8th in the qualifying round here.

The Tripura-girl, who is the country’s first woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, managed to perform her much-appreciated ‘Produnova’ vault cleanly to secure 14.850 points after two attempts.

It was a nervous wait for the Indian after that. She had ended sixth after the third of five sub-divisions.

She dropped to 8th eventually when Canadian Shallon Olsen’s terrific effort of 14.950 rejigged the overall standings.

But that was just about enough to secure her a place in the finals scheduled for August 14 as the top-8 made the cut for the medal round.

“I’m happy but wish I could have done a bit better. In practice, I perform way better than this,” Dipa said.

Dipa secured 7.000 on difficulty and 8.1 on execution in her first attempt. Her score for difficulty was a tad lower at 6.000 in the second attempt.

She landed low on her Produnova vault in the first attempt, while her second vault was a ‘Tsuk double full twist’ with step to the side.

Ahead of her event, Dipa received a big boost when she was wished luck by none other than three-time world champion Simone Biles of the US.

The 19-year-old star American, who has a record 10 World Championship gold medals in her kitty came up to the unassuming Tripura lass and wished her “luck” for she may have perfected the art of gymnastics but when it comes to ‘Produnova’ it’s terrifying.

“Simon Biles came up to me and wished me luck to do well in Produnova. She is like a star to me and difficult to think of standing beside her. I’m so overwhelmed,” Dipa said.

Biles eventually topped the charts with a sensational score of 16.050. The American scored a brilliant 9.700 on execution in both her attempts.

North Korea’s Jong Un Hong was a distant second after securing 15.683 followed by Switzerland’s Giulia Steingruber (15.266).

In the other routines, Dipa secured 11.666 for her effort on the uneven bars, scoring low on difficulty but decent on execution. Later, Dipa scored 12.866 for her performance on the balance beam.

The floor exercise fetched Dipa a score of 12.033, which also included a 0.300 penalty.

“It’s my first Olympics, feels great. There was lot of noise from the local Brazilian supporters. It was so much noise that I found it difficult to hear the music,” Dipa said.

“If you have seen the the Great Britain team, fourth and fifth and had to withdraw midway. But there’s no comparison of the test event to that of the atmosphere in the Olympics.

“The Olympic judging is very strict here. Those who usually get 16 are getting about 13. The scoring is tight. valuting is my main event,” she said.

Dipa, the first Indian woman gymnast to win a Commonwealth Games medal, stood a poor 47th in the all-round standings with a combined score of 51.665.

The eight gymnasts with the highest individual scores in each apparatus move on to compete for an individual event title in that apparatus.

The 24 men and 24 women with the highest combined individual totals move on to the all-around finals.

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