THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Let’s admit this — more than the dexterity of a manoeuvre, it’s the sheer voyeuristic pleasure that drives the crowd to gymnasium halls. Or make us glued wide-eyed to the television sets in wee hours in times of the Olympics or Commonwealth Games. Lost in this skin-fetish and the complicated point system of the sport was perhaps the glitter of Dipa Karmakar’s bronze in the Glasgow Games.
Forget the fact that it was India’s first-ever medal by a woman gymnast in the Commonwealth Games. But the way she accomplished it was even more telling. En route her bronze, she performed the rarest of rare feats — a Produnova, and with a staggering accuracy of 15.100. It’s a high-risk feat — the margin for error is miniscule and a wrong landing can break the neck, if not prove fatal or paralytic. But she pulled it off with stunning ease. The gymnastic fraternity held her in pure awe, though back home the welcome was dour.
She followed it up with a fourth in Incheon, despite a hairline fracture, and a highly respectable 10th in the World Championship. But still, the 21-year-old’s fame hasn’t spurted, as would befit her stature. In the National Games, she didn’t pull off a Produnova. She needn’t; it’s reserved for marquee events. The normal vaults had fetched her five gold medals. Much practice has gone into it. A normal vault itself would take 600-800 repeats to master. But she is a fast learner, and coach BS Nandi reveals it takes her just 30-40 takes to learn a normal vault.
Meanwhile, Kerala swimmer Sajan Prakash continued his gold spree, this time in the 400m freestyle, his sixth, which he accomplished with a national meet record (3:57.16s). If Sajan himself were a team, he would have been eighth on the 29-team table now. However, the tussle for the overall championship is taking the predictable course, with Services continuing their gold fest and breathing a little more easily at the helm.