Sachin Tendulkar had handed over a BMW car each, to three of the ladies who shone in the 2016 Rio Olympics – P.V.Sindhu, Dipa Karmakar and Sakshi Malik. It was a fantastic photo-op for the ladies, for Sachin Tendulkar and for BMW. Owning a BMW was a status symbol and it showed the world that the ladies had arrived.
Now Dipa Karmakar is planning to return the car. As per her coach, Bisheswar Nandi, it was a collective decision taken by her family and her coach. He said, “There are two main reasons behind it. First, there is no BMW service center in Agartala and secondly, the roads are not suitable to drive a posh car such as this. It was also suggested to them (V Chamundeswaranath, President of the Hyderabad Badminton Association) that if possible, they transfer the amount equivalent to the value of the car to Dipa’s bank account.”
Dipa reached the finals of the gymnastics event in the Rio Olympics, because she took the biggest risk of her life by attempting the Produnova Vault. This is so difficult that even a minor mistake can lead to serious injury, including paralysis. Death is also a possibility. She tried this because it guaranteed seven points because of the difficulty level and even faulty execution would give her a shot at a medal. Her courage and determination are the only things that took her that far, because it was not quality coaching, equipment, social or government support which took her to Rio. Her coach’s words betray these facts so openly.
According to Sir Ravindra Jadeja @SirJadejaaaa on Twitter, “Dipa Karmakar Will Return BMW Car She Recieved. Unfortunately Not Many In Our Country Knows What An Athlete Really Needs.”
Latest reports also say that Dipa may not be able to participate in the Challengers Cup in Germany, if the Gymnastics Federation of India fails to find five more gymnasts to send to the tournament. Dipa’s coach Bishweshwar Nandy has been informed of the same by the federation.
So should athletes be feted by giving them fancy gifts or should they be given help in cash and better facilities, so that they can improve on their future performances or have a stable life after their fruitful years? We as a nation should be ashamed when we hear of our National sport stars selling ‘golgappas’ or working as a labourer carrying bricks on their heads or dying penniless. This should be a wake-up call for all Sports bodies. “Help Sports Persons in their Formative years – Support them in their Retirement years.”