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“Asian Games Eligibility Criteria Would Be End Of Gymnastics In India”: Dipa Karmakar’s Coach Tells NDTV

Gymnast Dipa Karmakar isn’t eligible to participate in the Asian Games 2023 despite topping the recent trials.

Arguably the finest gymnastics talent that India has produced in recent times, Dipa Karmakar finds herself out of India’s Asian Games contingent, with the Sports Authority of India deciding against sending her to the quadrennial event despite the fact that she topped the trials. Dipa’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi, in an exclusive interaction with NDTV, said that the criteria, set by the Sports Authority of India, would result in the end of gymnastics in India if not removed by the government.

As per the government criteria, athletes’ performance in individual events during the last 12 months should not fall below the performance achieved by the eighth position holder in the 2018 Asian Games. Dipa and her coach, on the other hand, argue that the current performance should be considered as that gives the true reflection of an athlete’s preparedness.

Dipa Karmakar’s coach Bishwesshwar Nandi:I am hurt. Who made the criteria, which committee? No one from our federation was there. Which expert is defining the technical committee’s criteria? We want their name on the team. How did they come up with the criteria? If you made the criteria, you should’ve announced the same 2-2.5 months ago. Deepa gave the trials last month and claimed the No. spot. I have been associated with gymnastics for a long time. It’s the current form that has always mattered. Even outside India, only current performance is considered. I don’t know who decided on the criteria, on whose consultation. If this criterion continued, it would be the death of gymnastics in India.

Dipa Karmakar:If old performances mattered, even Simon Biles wouldn’t have had to prove herself in trials. Current performance is what matters. It’s the recent performance that matters everywhere. I don’t know what is happening as no official announcement has been made yet. I am still hopeful that the government will be on my side.

What if juniors, who have never played a competition, want to participate in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, or Asian Games? Would the country not send them if they perform in trials?

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