Bhubaneswar: Eminent gymnast Dipa Karmakar and her coach Bisheshwar Nandi narrated their struggle and discussed about Dipa’s upcoming biography titled ‘Dipa Karmakar: The small wonder’ along with co-authors and senior journalists Digvijay Singh Deo and Vimal Mohar in a group discussion moderated by Nikhil Naz on the second and concluding day of the Ekamra Sports Literary Festival here Saturday. The cover of the book was also revealed on the session.
Responding to a question on development of gymnastics in Odisha, Nandi stated, “Odisha has a great history in gymnastics. The state has produced many great gymnasts of the country in the past. Barabati Stadium has hosted a number of national-level gymnastic tournaments in the past. Dipa and I have participated in these tournaments and performed well. There is a great gymnastic culture here, especially in Puri,” he stated.
“Rakesh Patra is an eminent gymnast in the country and he is a product of this culture. He is a Roman style gymnast. Rakesh has been continuously performing well in different international-level tournaments. But, unfortunately, he is missing on medals just by a whisker. I believe that it’s just a matter of time before he starts winning medals. He is among the very best in the world,” Nandi informed.
Talking about the downward graph of state gymnastics, Nandi said, “Sometimes it happens and things become static. This has happened to gymnastics here. Now, the state government is taking a lot of initiative in sports. If it lends its support to gymnastics as it is doing in the case of hockey and athletics, the game will definitely grow in the state. Odisha certainly has potential and the state can produce 10 gymnasts like Rakesh Patra provided they get the right kind of support,” Nandi suggested.
Both Dipa and her coach Nandi illustrated their tryst with each other in their journey so far. Digvijay and Vimal also shared their experiences while writing the book during the thrilling session. The book is expected to hit the stands during the upcoming men’s Hockey World Cup scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar later this month.