Kolkata: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who has been the toast of the nation since her fourth-place finish in the Rio Olympics, said her next aim is to knock World No.1 Simone Biles of the United States off her perch.
Biles claimed the gold medal in the women’s vault—the event which saw Dipa miss out on the bronze medal at Rio.
“Simone Biles is the best. My aim is to beat her. I am preparing in such a way that even if I cannot get the better of her, I end up with a silver,” Dipa told a packed gathering here.
Dipa was felicitated by a local Durga Puja organisation for her feat at Rio where she missed bronze by the skin of the teeth.
“The response she has been getting from across the country has floored us. I have vowed to myself that I won’t rest until she wins a medal in Tokyo (Olympics in 2020),” coach Bishweshwar Nandi said in his speech.
Actor Prosenjit Chatterjee gave Dipa a gold crown as promised by the organisers earlier this week.
Among others present were former East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya and Bengal’s Ranji Trophy winning captain Sambaran Banerjee.
“I was happy with my finish until I came to my room. When I got to know the reaction of the entire country, the feeling of disappointment set in. If only I could win a medal, I could have gifted the country and all my fellow Bengalis something,” added the 23-year old Tripura girl.
Dipa met Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in New Delhi at a function on Saturday. On asking the ‘Pink’ actor for a photograph, Big B’s reply pleased her no bounds.
“He said ‘I will wait for you half an hour. You click 10 pictures with me. Don’t be disheartened. You will achieve more success. This is just the beginning’.”
At a press gathering later, Dipa said Indian coaches are better than foreign counterparts citing the example of Pullela Gopichand who coached P.V. Sindhu to a silver medal in badminton at Rio.
“I have an Indian coach who I owe everything whatever I am today. Sindhu was also under an Indian coach and so was Sakshi. Both have won medals for the country. I think an Indian coach is always better,” she reckoned.
According to reports, coach Nandi is plotting a half-turn vault with an eye on Tokyo 2020. Quizzed about that, he preferred to beat around the bush: “Everyone wants a vault that he or she can master and is his or her identity. I have been working on something similar. Let’s see what happens.”
Dipa will be in the city on Monday as well where she will first visit Bhowanipore Football Club followed by a programme at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce.