Sports is a world boiling over with pioneers.
Their ranks swell with relentless warriors who are the first to accomplish this incredible feat or break the record previously thought never to be broken.
Often they bask in global accomplishments.
Being a pioneer is not for the faint of heart.
People who avoid the extreme or very unusual find it undesirable since they tend to like only safe and familiar things.
“It is not easy to be a pioneer – but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world.”….Elizabeth Blackwell
Why is being a pioneer risky business?
Because there are two sides to that coin.
The other side is that you can become the first person or team to fail massively.
The first team in 30 years not to qualify for that country’s Olympic spot. The first player to have a big lead heading into the finals and falling apart only to lose to a lesser talented challenger. The quarterback with a winning record during the regular season but never winning in the playoffs. The quarterback of a stellar, accelerating, shocking, upstart team that has the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl for the first time ever and he throws an interception on the goal line with time running out.
We don’t need to name names.
History will do that for us.
This is what makes Dipa Karmakar so special.
She is a pioneer on the right side of the coin.
At the informative site dipakarmakar.in, we learn that Dipa Karmakar (born 9 August 1993, Agartala) is an Indian artistic gymnast from Agartala, Tripura who represents India at the international circuit.
She came to recognition when she won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, held at Glasgow becoming the first Indian female gymnast to do so in the history of the games. She is also one of the five women that have successfully landed the very difficult Produnova vault in competition, also holding the highest score amongst all (15.100) in her attempt.
Ms. Karmakar started practicing gymnastics when she was 6 years old. She has been coached by veteran Bisbeshwar Nandi ever since.
Since 2007, Dipa has won 77 medals including 67 gold, in state, national and international championships. She was part of the 2010 Indian gymnastics contingent in the Delhi Commonwealth Games where, as a participant, she saw Ashish Kumar create history by winning India’s first ever gymnastic medals at the games.
In October 2015, Dipa became the first ever Indian to qualify for the final stage of the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
In April 2016, she became the first female Indian gymnast ever to secure an Olympic berth by garnering a total score of 52.698 points.
Additionally, she will be the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics after 52 years.
Very pioneer like.
“The way of the pioneer is always rough.”… Harvey S. Firestone
The top gymnastics nations had ensured team qualifications to go to Rio, but the individual event finals were Ms. Karmakar’s stage to illuminate.
The American great Simone Biles showed technical perfection.
What Dipa had was a tremendous iron will to prove herself.
Let’s travel to the part of the world that helped shape Dipa.
The city is the seat of the Government of Tripura.
It is also one of the fastest developing cities of India.
Agartala is situated in a plain along the Haora River, though the city also extends to the low-lying hills on its northern parts.
In 1941 Agartala had a population of 17,693.
By 1991 the population had risen to 157,358. Bengali, the official state language, is the dominant language in Agartala while English is also a popular language in the state as well.
The educational travel site wikitravel.org adds more perspective. “Agartala shares its western border with Bangladesh.
Unlike the other six capitals of north-eastern states, which are predominantly hilly, Agartala lies on the western end of the great Ganga-Brahmaputra plain of Bangladesh and shares much of its culture, language and cuisine as well with this neighboring nation.
Agartala is famous for its temples, palaces, and rich history of the Manikya kings and its connection to Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Agartala is also noted for its bamboo handicrafts, and local hand-woven shawls and textiles.”
The global travel site lonelyplanet.com punctuates, “Tripura’s only ‘city’, this low-key settlement with its semi-rural atmosphere feels like an India of yore. It’s a congested but relaxed place, and in many ways feels more like a small town than a state capital. The pace of life is slow, and the people are friendly.”
Now after Dipa’s pioneering ways, they are not only friendly but extremely proud and happy too.
Dipa’s historical efforts reminded me of another Indian female pioneer.
Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, who died at the very young age of 22, (31 March 1865 – 26 February 1887) was one of the first South Asian female physicians and the first Indian female physician, to be trained in the tradition of Western medicine. She was the first female of Indian origin to study and graduate with a degree in medicine in the United States. She is also believed to be the first Hindu woman to set foot on American soil.
In late 1886, Anandibai returned to India, receiving a hero’s welcome.
How the young can inspire and change the world.
“I mean, when you’re a pioneer and you are at the forefront of an offensive, you’re going to be the most optimistic person.”… Carlos Ghosn
Dipa can be described in a myriad of positive ways. She’s bright, courageous, strong, spirited and relentless. Her desire to excel is unbridled.
Fortunately for us fans, faint of heart will never be her resume.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.