Dipa Karmakar looks to Russia's Aliya Mustafina for inspiration to make successful return from injury

Kolkata: Elite sportsperson more often than not look for inspiration on their comeback trail from injuries and for Dipa Karmakar, it is Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina, who won four medals at the 2012 London Olympics after being almost down and out with a career-threatening ACL tear.

Mustafina's valor and tenacity is highly regarded as she had torn her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) with less than a year in the lead up to the London Olympics but ended up winning as many as four medals.

"Look at Aliya Mustafina. She showed remarkable courage in winning a gold, a silver and two bronze medals in London. Who would have thought of that," a confident Dipa told PTI during an interaction.

Dipa Karmakar with her coach Bisweshwar Nandi. Firstpost/Pritam Norris

File image of Dipa Karmakar with her coach Bisweshwar Nandi. Image courtesy: Firstpost/Pritam Norris

When everyone had started writing her off, Mustafina did not crumble and made a comeback at the 2011 Voronin Cup in December. The Russian went on to lead their contingent in all four events at the London qualifiers before bagging four medals at the Olympics.

Much like Mustafina, Dipa also had torn the ACL during training earlier this year and went under the knife as the diminutive Agartala girl looks to achieve what she missed narrowly at Rio Olympics 2016.

"I'm absolutely normal, why should I think about what happened due to surgery. It's does not matter to me anymore. It's only about practice, practice and more practice," said the 'Produnova girl' who became a national sensation in a sport little known in India.

"I am doing my best to do better than previously. My coach (Bishweshwar Nandi) has chalked out my recovery path and I am continuing my rehab with my physio. I am following steps as was said by Dr Anant Joshi and the SAI has extended a great support," said

Asked whether the injury was a setback, she said: "I am mentally stronger now and want to achieve something. I don't think it's a pressure. I am a lucky sportsperson to have a coach like him who does not let any outside pressure affect me."

Dipa would join the national camp at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in the capital next week after her coach Bishweshwar Nandi's cousin's wedding on Sunday.

"My preparation has begun, I am slowly getting on to training, let's see what happens next. I am following sir's programme and I will go as per his (Nandi) direction," the 24 -year-old said.

Asked whether the preparation time for the Commonwealth Games in April next year is less, she said, "I got three months' preparation time for Olympics as well as the World Championships. I don't know what happens now."

Witty in her response to her comeback plan, Dipa said, "Even Simone Biles is yet to start competing (after her Rio performance)."

However, the Dronacharya awardee coach, who is credited with Dipa's spectacular fourth-place finish in Rio Olympics, said he would take a call only mid-March after seeing his ward's progress.

Although Nandi has not completely ruled Dipa out of the 2018 Gold Coast event, to be held in April, he feels the Asian Games in August would be a more "realistic target".

"I will closely monitor her progress but I do not want to rush things. If she is fit she will definitely go to Gold Coast. Achieving fitness is the priority and she has started slowly. It's 50-50 for Commonwealth Games now," Nandi told PTI.

"I will be able to take a call by 15 March next year. We have two more important events lined up next year - the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, and the World Championship in Doha. So I want to go slowly," he said.

She has been out of action post Rio owing to a ligament tear in the right leg and was operated by Dr Anant Joshi in Mumbai.

"Even football icon Cristiano Ronaldo has gone to surgery many a times. I am hopeful that she will be back to her best soon," Nandi said.

Dipa was earlier felicitated by the Goenka College of Commerce and Business Administration.

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2017 19:16:12 IST

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