New Delhi: Dipa Karmakar’s fourth-place finish at the Rio Olympics inspired young Samriddhi Ghosh to concentrate on gymnastics, sparking a deep desire to emulate her idol in the years ahead. Ghosh, all of nine, has already won medals at the Queens Cup International Rhythmic Gymnastics Competition in Hong Kong, beating back competition from older, more experienced participants from other countries.
The Mumbai girl bagged medals in individual ribbon set and group ball set categories, and was also awarded Certificate of Merits for the all-round gymnast category and as well as for grace and flexibility. “I joined gymnastics when I was five and my interest developed during the 2012 Olympics where I saw athletes performing with different apparatus. I used to do cartwheels, twist and turns at home for fun and seeing my interest and my body flexibility, my mother decided to encourage me,” Samriddhi told this paper.
“I am inspired by Dipa Karmakar. She narrowly missed a medal at Rio but she brought the sport into the limelight in our country,” the Grade 3 student added. Currently preparing for the Angel Cup in Malaysia this June, Ghosh trains under Akshata Shete, who took part in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, and went for advanced training to the US in 2016.
She has also trained under elite level Olympic coaches like Galyna Gorbis (silver medallist at the 2005 World Championships), Natalia Godunko (Olympian and world champion) and Alina Maksymenko (Olympian and World Championship bronze medallist). “This year, I plan to increase my training time, work on my physical conditioning, fitness and apparatus handling. I have set myself a few goals in terms of getting newer elements so that I can include them in my routines for next year. I also want to participate in more international competitions.”
Russian star Margarita Mamun, the all-round champion in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is among Ghosh’s role models. “I am confident that sports authorities and even brands will show interest to popularise rhythmic gymnastics and will come forward to support passionate athletes like me who dream of winning medals in the Olympics for the country,” she said.
“I need to break up my targets into realistic goals and dedicate my efforts towards achieving them. With each passing year, I will become stronger and better and each step will take me towards my dream of participating in the Olympics.”