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Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar chose Produnova—”Vault of Death” to outperform and win a medal

Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar has become the first Indian to make a cut to individual vault finals since 1964. Karmakar, who hails from Tripura, finished at 8th position in the qualifying round.

She secured 15.100 points in her first attempt—she did a Produnova, with the difficulty score of 7.000 and an execution score of 8.100. Later, she performed a Tsuk double full twist in which she scored 14.600 points with 6.000 difficulty score and an execution score of 8.600.

Karmakar made a daring choice to do a Produnova which is also known as “vault of death” by many athletes. Produnova, named after Yelena Produnova, requires a handspring double-front somersault in which a player has high risk of landing on their neck if they over rotate themselves.

Many athletes have demanded to ban this high risk engaging vault as it can leave the athlete with a broken neck. Before Karmakar’s daredevil vault, French gymnast Samir Ait Said, questioned the new scoring system. The 26-year-old French gymnast Ait Said suffered a double tibia and fibula fracture while performing vault in the qualifying round of men’s gymnastics.

Karmakar, who is participating in her first Olympics, told Indian Express, “I’m happy but wish I could have done a bit better. In practice, I perform way better than this.”

She said that American gymnast Simon Biles wished her luck before she made a sprint to perform Produnova. Karmakar said, “Simon Biles came up to me and wished me luck to do well in Produnova. She is like a star to me and difficult to think of standing beside her. I’m so overwhelmed.”

The 22-year-old gymnast does realize the risk she takes to outperform herself. She said, “The Olympic judging is very strict here. Those who usually get 16 are getting about 13. The scoring is tight. Vaulting is my main event.”

Karmakar will participate for the medal round on August 14.

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