Hyderabad : Expressing her inability to maintain a luxury car in Agartala, celebrated Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar has requested that she should instead be given a cash prize equivalent to the vehicle’s cost even as the body which offered her the gift promised to “look” into the matter.
Karmakar, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, produced a memorable performance at the big event in Rio finishing 4th in the vault event. A BMW car was gifted to her by the Hyderabad District Badminton Association president Chamundeswarinath in appreciation of her performance. She was presented the keys of the car by cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar at a felicitation ceremony where she was honoured alongside Olympic silver-medallist shuttler P V Sindhu and bronze-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik.
However, Dipa says she wants to return the gift as roads in Agartala are too narrow for a BMW and also the city does not have a single BMW showroom or service centre. The 23-year-old’s coach Bisheswar Nandi was quoted as saying that he has requested an “amount equivalent to the value of the car” should be transferred to Dipa’s account.
Chamundeswarinath said he will have a word with the gymnast on the difficulties she is facing in handling the vehicle. “We will discuss with her. Whatever Dipa is comfortable with, we will look into it; if not BMW car,” Chamundeswarinath told PTI.
“The idea of gifting cars to the sportspersons was to encourage them to do better,” he said. Tendulkar, who was the Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian team at Rio Olympics, handed over the keys of the vehicles to them at a function held at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy here on August 28.
The 23-year-old Tripura girl scored 15.066 points, a mere 0.150 less than eventual bronze-medallist Giulia Steingruber (15.216) of Switzerland.