Olympian Dipa wants cash instead of BMW for training

Updated: 14 Oct 2016 07:17 PM
Agartala: Star gymnast Dipa Karmakar said on Friday that she would prefer cash instead of the BMW car she got as a gift for her exploits at the Rio Olympics as it would help her to prepare for future tournaments.

Dipa, alongwith the two Indian medallists from the Rio Games -- badminton star P.V. Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik -- and Sindhu's coach Pullela Gopichand, received a BMW car each in August for their achievements at the Olympics from the Hyderabad District Badminton Association (HDBA).

The first woman gymnast from India to qualify for the Olympics, the Tripura girl had missed out on a medal by a fraction of a point in the women's vault event. She had executed the extremely difficult Produnova vault at the Games which had earned her a lot of appreciation.

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.

However, Dipa has said that it will be difficult for her to maintain the car as there are no service centres for the luxury vehicle in Tripura and the roads in the mountainous state are not suitable for such a car.

Instead, the Olympian wants a cash amount equal to the value of the car.

"If we got the money instead of the BMW car then we can utilise the money for my training purposes," Dipa told IANS on Friday.

Dipa also insisted that she does not want to return the gift and was forced to take the decision to return the premier vehicle only due to maintenance problems that she envisaged facing in Tripura.

"It is beyond my dreams to return the gift as I received the key of the car from none other than India's cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar. I know very well that a gift cannot be returned. Controversy over the issue is unexpected," Dipa said.

"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 in Agartala? There are also not sufficient suitable roads in Agartala and other places of the mountainous state to drive the expensive car."

"Sir (her coach Bisheshwar Nandi) discussed these matters with (HDBA President) V. Chamundeshwarnath. He agreed to deposit money equal to a BMW car's price in my bank account. We would be happy whatever amount they give instead of the BMW car," she added.

Dipa, who hails from Abhoynagar, on the outskirts of the state capital, said she did not take the decision solely by herself, and the issue was decided collectively by her coach, parents and other family members.

Dipa's father Dulal Karmakar said that getting a trained driver for the BMW car is also a problem in Agartala.

The ongoing c