From early in the morning on Monday Dipa Karmakar was busy on twitter, acknowledging compliments from well-known personalities, including the Prime Minister, Sports Minister and a couple of Chief Ministers, till the time she left her hotel in Mersin, Turkey, to fly back to Delhi.
Out of action for two years (due to a knee injury after her historic fourth place finish on the vaulting table in the Rio Olympics), Dipa was desperate to prove her credentials again.
She was relieved after claiming a gold medal in vault in the Mersin World Challenge Cup on Sunday.
“This medal is for everyone who never stopped believing in me!” said Dipa, thanking the people and organisations which actively supported her during the tough time.
A source close to Dipa shared how the ace gymnast went through agony and self-doubt during her lay-off period, when she underwent a knee surgery.
“There was a lot of criticism. People said she is finished and cannot return,” said the source.
“Because of the criticism, Dipa said, “I thought whether I could really make a comeback. But I had the confidence to do it.
“More criticism came my way when I decided to give the Commonwealth Games in Australia a miss.
“‘My aim was to achieve something bigger. And my recovery was not 100 per cent at that time.
“Had I participated in the CWG, the problem could have aggravated. My coach (Bishweshwar Nandi) said there was time to get fully fit (for the Asian Games).’”
The gymnast and her coach wanted to test her fitness at the World Challenge Cup and were happy with the outcome.
Dipa was not well on the qualification day but managed to top the chart in vault with a score of 13.4.
She bounced back to take the gold with an improved performance of 14.15.
However, the 24-year-old was disappointed on finishing fourth (after scoring an identical 12.1 with third-placed Yuliya Inshina) and missing out on a medal in balance beam.
With a surge in her confidence, Dipa is now focusing on fine-tuning her game for the Asian Games. “No one wants to lose,” says Dipa, underlining her killer instinct.