Dipa Karmakar is on cloud nine after qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is the first Indian woman gymnast to achieve this feat.
Hours after creating history, 22-year-old Dipa vaulted to the gold medal at the test event of the Summer Games in Rio on Tuesday.
Dipa spoke exclusively to NDTV from Brazil. Excerpts from an interview.
NDTV: Congratulations on this wonderful feat. You must be flooded with congratulatory messages from all over the world...
Dipa Karmakar: I am really happy. I am living in a world of dreams. I am overwhelmed by the fact that the Prime Minister, President and Sachin Tendulkar have tweeted about me.
NDTV: Is this the best performance of your career?
DK: I never thought that it will happen so quickly. I have been doing gymnastics for the last 16 years. I always wanted to do something big for the country and thought of representing India at the Olympics. At last, I have reached the first step of my career goal.
NDTV: Overnight you have become a celebrity in India. How did you celebrate your victory in Rio?
DK: I was tired after the competition but I went out to the nearby beach with my coach and project officer Indrajeet Pabla. We congratulated each other and all of us are extremely happy in Rio.
NDTV: You have qualified for the Olympics but the real challenge begins now.
DK: Absolutely. My earnest desire is to create history at the Olympics. For that, I have four months and I have to really work hard.
NDTV: Have you spoken to your parents? Even for your family the journey has been tough.
DK: Everyone is happy at home. I used to practice gymnastics in Agartala. I watched Ashish winning a medal in gymnastics in 2010 Asian Games. Since then, I thought women should also win medals in gymnastics. Since 2014, SAI officials have been helping me out a lot. It wouldn't have been possible without the dedication and hard work of my coach Bisbeshwar Nandi and project officer Indrajeet Pabla.
For doing the 'Produnova' vault, SAI prepared a foam pit for me at the IGI Stadium. That helped me to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games and Asian championship. All of us had only one goal in mind. It was because of the hard work that the team put in that I am able to achieve this feat.
NDTV: In spite of your success, coach Nandi is yet to win the Dronacharya Award...
DK: I do not want to be dragged into any sort of controversy but I feel that he will be given the Dronacharya this year.