AGARTALA: Ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the women’s vault event at the Rio Olympics, has been placed in a tricky situation over a BMW car presented to her by the Hyderabad District Badminton Association.
Dipa, along with India’s two other medallists from Rio — badminton star P.V. Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik — and Sindhu’s coach Pullela Gopichand, received a BMW car in August for her achievement at the Rio Olympics.
Dipa, however, strongly refuted media reports that she wants to return the BMW car to Hyderabad District Badminton Association President V. Chamundeshwarnath who gifted her the BMW. The star gymnast insisted that her decision to return the premier vehicle is only due to maintenance problems that she envisaged facing in her north-eastern state of Tripura.
“There is no showroom or service centre of BMW car in Tripura. If the car developed any technical snag during driving, how would I repair this? There are also not sufficient suitable roads in Agartala and other places of the mountainous state to ply the luxury car,” said Dipa.
“Sir (her coach Bisheshwar Nandi) discussed these matters with V. Chamundeshwarnath. He agreed to deposit money equal to a BMW car cost to my bank account. We would be happy whatever amount they give instead of the BMW car,” she added.
Dipa, who hails from the state capital of Agartala, said she did not take the decision solely by herself, and the issue was decided collectively by her coach, parents and other family members.
In August, while Sindhu and Gopi received BMW 320 Ds that cost around Rs.40 lakh each, Sakshi and Dipa received compact cross-over BMW X1s priced at around Rs.30 lakh each.
Cricket legend and India’s goodwill ambassador at the Rio Olympics, Sachin Tendulkar, handed over the keys of the cars, made by German automaker BMW Group.
“I am now keeping my focus and preparing for the Challengers’ Cup in Germany, which is only a month away. I was advised by my coach not to worry about maintaining the expensive gift and focus on the future challenges to come,” Dipa remarked.
The 23-year-old Tripura girl, who became the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, finished fourth in the final round of the women’s vault event at the Rio Games.
She scored 15.066 points, a mere 0.150 less than eventual bronze medallist Giulia Steingruber (15.216) of Switzerland, and missed out on a podium finish by a whisker.