New Delhi: Gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci suggests that Dipa Karmakar does not need to change anything or move overseas to be able to challenge for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics but train for a week or two abroad just for a change in environment.
The five-time Olympic champion from Romania also sees great passion in the diminutive Indian gymnast for her sport.
"She (Dipa) does not need to move overseas to be able to challenge for a medal at the next Olympics. She clearly has a very supportive system in India and all I would suggest to her is to perhaps go abroad and train, either in America or any other country where there are good gymnasts, for just a short while. Just a week or two, to change the environment and then back to India," Comaneci, who is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, says.
According to Comaneci, one need not be born in a particular country to be good at gymnastics.
"Yes, over the years USA, Russia, and Romania have dominated the sport but it is fascinating to see a talented gymnast like Dipa emerge from India. Her success will ensure that it is no longer considered a bridge too far for an Indian to shine at the world stage in the extremely competitive sport of gymnastics," she writes in the foreword of a book "Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder".
She also says that she was very surprised to see Dipa attempt the Produnova at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the Indian gymnast missed a bronze by a whisker.
"It is an extremely difficult and complex vault, yet she executed it with minimum fuss. As someone who has competed at the highest level, I must say that it requires a lot of guts and had I been given a choice, I would never have attempted such a dangerous vault.
"It is truly a reflection of the bravery and the dedication of this lovely gymnast that she was successful in executing it at a place no less than the Olympics," Comaneci writes in the book brought out by Fingerprint! Publishing.
Dipa, according to her, may not have had the access to the facilities the best gymnasts of the world have today but she has a passion for her sport. "To succeed in sport you need to have passion. It is this which will see you negotiate the hurdles that you face over your career."
The book, co-written by Dipa's coach Bishweshwar Nandi, Vimal Mohan and Digvijay Singh Deo, has many untold stories of struggle and triumph besides rare archival photos from the Karmakars' private album as well as competition photos.