Book Review: Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder (India’s First Ever Female Gymnast to Compete in the Olympics) by Bishweshwar Nandi, Digvijay Singh Deo and Vimal Mohan

Book Name: Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder (India’s First Ever Female Gymnast to Compete in the Olympics)

Authors: Bishweshwar Nandi, Digvijay Singh Deo and Vimal Mohan

Publisher: Fingerprint

Genre: Non-fiction

Rating: 5/5

Book Blurb: On August 14, 2016, a young girl, India’s first female gymnast to compete at the Olympics, landed the Produnova that took her to the cusp of an Olympic medal. She came fourth yet soared into the hearts of millions across the globe.
Dipa Karmakar’s fourth-place finish at the Rio Olympic Games was a defining moment for Indian sport, which had barely cast a glance at the sport of gymnastics as a medal discipline till then. Dipa’s journey from Tripura, an oft-neglected sporting outpost, to the national consciousness and India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, is one of grit, determination and a stubbornness to beat the odds.

Review: Dipa Karmakar’s story is one of sheer determination and she serves as an inspiration to millions. This book captures her tale from humble origins and leading upto the main Olympic event where her performance managed to surprise all.

The authors have done well to keep the focus on her struggle and preparations for the Olympics leaving out the finer details. This makes the book seem like a racy read and highly interesting. Her struggles and her detrmination to not lose focus is brought out very well in the end.

“We had undergone a terrible experience on our first day of competition and were caught unawares, this being our first time at an event like the Olympics where one can get overawed. We had spent an entire day during my qualification round without any food or water, as we were not carrying
Brazilian currency at that time.”

Dipa is famous for the Produnova, a very difficult feat to pull off made famous by an athlete who first introduced it. A simple mistake could mean being crippled for life but Dipa managed to master it and it was largely responsible for her scoring highly in the Olympic event.

The role played by Mr. Nandi is also well documented and the book is also accompanied with pictures that adds to the overall presentation.

“I did reach the final on the beam but was never in the hunt really and finished fifth. It hurt, it was another competition for the Indian team without a medal in 2018. Personally the loss of two years is a setback but I am back on my feet, I am determined again. Once again, it is the turn of the donkey and the buffalo to prove everyone wrong. We have done it once, and we can do it again.”

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