Gymnast Pranati Nayak and Dipa Karmakar unexpectedly faced off at the FIG World Challenge Cup in Szombathely, Hungary, less than a month after Pranati secured a spot in the Asian Games, leaving Dipa out. Pranati finished fifth in the qualification, earning her a place in the eight-woman vault final, while Dipa ended ninth, failing to make the cut.
Dipa Karmakar, competing internationally for the first time since her 21-month doping ban, experienced trouble with her right knee, which had undergone an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery. Her coach, Bishweshwar Nandi, noted that Dipa went for “safer” vaults due to the knee issues and the mental stress from the Asian Games selection controversy.
For Pranati Nayak, the Hungary competition provided a significant confidence boost ahead of the Asian Games. Despite facing visa issues and limited training time, she performed impressively. Pranati plans to showcase even more challenging routines, including the Tsukahara 720 and Handspring 360 vaults, at the Asian Games.
The Asian Games selection controversy arose when Dipa Karmakar, despite topping the selection trials, was removed from the shortlist based on new selection criteria. These criteria required athletes to match the performance of the eighth position holder from the 2018 Asian Games in the year preceding the event. Pranati Nayak made the cut based on her all-round score at the Asian Championships held in Singapore.
While the controversy unfolded, Pranati emphasized that her relationship with Dipa remained respectful and unaffected. Despite a ligament tear in her right shoulder that sidelined her for five months, Pranati is now determined and confident for the Asian Games, ready to compete against herself and deliver stellar performances.
Re-reported from the article originally published in Hindustan Times