With almost 65 to 70 per cent of the gymnastics quotas already booked for the Tokyo Games – now rescheduled to start from July 23, 2021 – the Tripura girl pins her hopes on the two remaining World Cups, originally slated for March 2020, but now pushed to June.
“More than 65 to 70 per cent of the gymnasts have already booked their places for the Tokyo Games. There were eight World Cups but now there are only a couple are left. Both these events, originally scheduled for March, were postponed to June, which also seems unlikely given the current situation,” Dipa, 26, told TOI from her residence in Tripura.
“The scene is quite gloomy across the globe and in such a situation there are chances that these two events could be held next year, which gives me more time to recover and prepare. So I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to return to my practice as soon as the situation improves,” she added.
Welcoming the International Olympic Committee’s decision to defer the Games by a year, the gymnast said, “It’s shocking and painful to see so many people being affected and dead due to the virus. The IOC took a good decision. You can’t risk the lives of so many people, including the athletes involved in the Games.”
When asked if she had earlier lost hope of qualifying for the Olympics, Dipa said: ”
Jo humare hath mein nehi hai uske bare mein sochne se kya hoga (there’s no point in thinking about what’s beyond our control). I used to console myself with those lines but of course such things disturb you mentally. That’s where the importance of mental fitness comes in and I am lucky to have my coach and psychiatrist at that time,” she said.
“We normally tend to ignore the importance of mental fitness. This is such an important aspect in every part of our lives. I am glad many sportspersons have recently come up and spoken about mental health and fitness”.
The road ahead
Back to the floor after a prolonged break, Dipa was slowly getting back to her normal routine when the lockdown happened. But her coach Bishweshwar Nandi, the hard task master he is, has set a routine for his ward to follow at her home.