Dipa Karmakar training Photograph: Dipa Karmakar's Twitter

India’s gymnastics star Dipa Karmakar is training a new vault, a straight front somersault with 540-degree turn (called Rudi), as an alternative to the super difficult and dangerous Produnova vault, One India reports.

Karmakar became famous last spring for being the first female Indian gymnast to ever qualify for the Olympic Games. In Rio, Karmakar delivered another stellar performance, qualifying for the vault final and finishing fourth, just outside the medals.

Karmakar’s high scoring on vault is due to her performing the Produnova vault, the most difficult vault in the women’s gymnastics programme. It consists of two-and-a-half forward rotations off the vaulting table.

Due to the danger of this vault, however, the new Code of Points for the 2017-2020 quad has devalued the Produnova vault from a start value of 7.0 to 6.4. This appears to be the main reason why Karmakar and her coach decided to train an alternative vault.

Karmakar’s coach, Bisweswar Nandy, indeed argued that ‘I must have to introduce one new vault for Dipa as points in the difficulty category of Produnova has already been reduced by world body.’

The decision, however, he added, has not been finalised yet. ‘Nothing has been finalised,’ Nandy explained, ‘I am just in the process to explore new style of vaults for Dipa before the Asian championships, scheduled to be held in 2017.’

Nevertheless, reports have it that Nandy drew pictures of the Rudi vault both on paper and on a big blackboard at the Netaji Subhas regional coaching centre, where Karmakar has recently resumed training. And Karmakar herself reportedly has a copy of the drawing at home to help her with the mental preparation of the vault.

Replacing the Produnova vault with a Rudi seems a sensible choice for Dipa Karmakar. Her landings were always very deep and she therefore incurred in a lot of deductions. With less difficult vaults, she will start building her results on execution rather than mere difficulty, which will be less dangerous and more pleasing to watch.

By Talitha Ilacqua



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