New scor­ing leads to risky flips

The Myanmar Times - - Olympics -

FRANCE’S Samir Ait Said may have suf­fered a grue­some bro­ken leg on the vault but Dipa Kar­makar is ready to ex­e­cute the “vault of death” in the women’s event to be­come the first In­dian gym­nast to win an Olympic medal.

Ait Said, 26, suf­fered a hor­rific dou­ble leg frac­ture in men’s qual­i­fy­ing on Au­gust 6, caus­ing shocked com­peti­tors to ques­tion the scor­ing sys­tem which pushes ath­letes to try in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous moves.

But undaunted Kar­makar, 22, has vowed she will per­form the dif­fi­cult “Pro­dunova” vault in the women’s event which got un­der way with qual­i­fy­ing yes­ter­day.

“I be­lieve that prac­tice makes per­fect, and then it is not dif­fi­cult any­more,” she said. “My coach en­sured that I prac­tised ex­ten­sively.”

The Pro­dunova – a hand­spring dou­ble-front som­er­sault – has the high­est de­gree of difficulty for a women’s vault, a 7.0, and only five peo­ple have at­tempted it in com­pe­ti­tion.

It’s so dan­ger­ous some want it banned be­cause of the po­ten­tially lifethreat­en­ing in­juries if a gym­nast over­ro­tates and lands on the neck.

But Kar­makar, the first In­dian gym­nast to com­pete at the Games since 1964, is de­ter­mined.

“In the last three months I did 1000 rep­e­ti­tions of the move,” she said. “Now it is the eas­i­est vault for me.”

She won a bronze medal at the Glas­gow 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games af­ter land­ing the Pro­dunova in her vault fi­nal.

“Not many in the coun­try knew about this un­til re­cently, and now I hope that this vault be­comes more fa­mous,” she said.

There was drama in the Rio Olympic Arena on the open­ing day of the gym­nas­tics com­pe­ti­tion when Ait Said snapped the lower part of his left leg land­ing badly, suf­fer­ing a dou­ble tibia and fibula frac­ture.

He was vis­i­bly in agony as his leg flopped to one side to gasps of hor­ror from the crowd and com­peti­tors.

The Ger­man team were also reel­ing af­ter na­tional all-around cham­pion An­dreas Toba was forced out due to in­jury.

“I was warm­ing up when I saw it [Ait Said’s ac­ci­dent] on TV,” said Ger­many’s Fa­bien Ham­buechen, a sil­ver medal­list from Lon­don 2012 on the hori­zonal bar.

“There’s al­ways more dif­fi­cult, higher risk. It’s get­ting dan­ger­ous,” said Ham­buechen.

“I don’t like this new sys­tem. I’m the guy who still loves the 10.0. The new sys­tem is push­ing peo­ple and mak­ing it dan­ger­ous.”

The per­fect 10.0 scor­ing sys­tem was re­vamped af­ter a scor­ing con­tro­versy at the 2004 Athens Games.

Gym­nasts have since been awarded points start­ing at an ini­tial 10-point score, and are scored based on the difficulty of their rou­tine. –

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