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Rio 2016: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar Produnovas her way into our hearts

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:47 IST

So close yet so far. That's been the theme throughout the Rio Olympics for the Indian athletes. On Sunday, 14 August, eve of India's independence, gymnast Dipa Karmakar narrowly missed out on a medal. She finished fourh in the women's Artistic Gymnastics Vault finals. She may not have won a medal, but she won the hearts of many watching the Olympics all over the world.

The 23-year-old athlete from Tripura, the first Indian woman gymnast and first gymnast in 52 years, landed the Produnova vault for a fourth place finish in Rio de Janeiro on 14 August. No one could stop American Simone Biles from taking the gold but that wasn't the biggest talking point coming out of the event.

Here's what Karmakar had to say after the event, "I will definitely go for a medal in 2020. I am very happy with my first Olympics. The other three were better than me. I enjoyed myself and did both my vaults as well as I could". She will remain in the minds of many as India enjoys its 70th independence day celebrations on Monday, 15 August. She took to Twitter to say a few words after missing out on winning India's first medal at the Rio Olympics.

Sudarsan Pattnaik, an Indian sand artist from Odish, saluted Karmakar in the only way he knew how to:

Karmakar has won 77 medals - including a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014 - since she started training at the age of six under the watchul eye of her coach Bisbeshwar Nandi. The gym she went to didn't have proper equipment and definitely didn't have a vaulting table. we would put mats on top of each other and make do with that. The gym would flood in the monsoon season. So it was quite a struggle to start with," Karmakar told the BBC.

The hard work for Karmakar has paid off. She may be coming home to India from Rio without a medal but just looking at the reaction on social media, she'll be treated just how champions should be. She's a winner in our hearts. Here's a toast from social media to the the 22-year-old gymnast:

First published: 15 August 2016, 2:05 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a sports and tech correspondent on the speed news desk at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.