Dipa Karmakar's decision to return the luxury BMW car — presented to her by Sachin Tendulkar following her exploits at the Rio Olympics 2016 — had raised strong reactions. However, the gymnast has clarified on the matter, saying she opted to return the BMW to the Hyderabad Badminton Association as she could better utilise the cash to fund her training.
Considering what a headache maintaining a luxury car like the BMW is, even in metropolitan cities, let alone in a place like Agartala, the gymnast's decision does seem to make sense on hindsight. Moreover, considering the shambolic nature of roads in the Tripura capital and the fact that the city doesn't even have a BMW service centre, and it only makes sense to do without a luxury car.
In an email conversation with Firstpost, Karmakar said that it was a "blessing" to be presented a BMW by a sporting idol like Sachin Tendulkar. But maintaining the car in Agartala is another matter altogether. She also said that getting monetary funds instead of a car would be a better idea, as it would help her fund her sporting and training expenses.
"I am grateful that I will be getting funds against the car's return, and I'm happy with whatever funds I get. I will be using these towards my sporting expenses," Karmakar told Firstpost.
She also revealed that the decision was taken purely due to difficulties of maintaining the luxury car and nothing else. "I have simply requested for the vehicle to be returned as I will not be able to maintain it. It is nothing to do with the state of roads or anything regarding the administration in my home state," she said.
It's a known fact that barring cricket, the nature of sporting facilities in India are not top notch. Which is why Karmakar's decision of choosing money over a luxury car appears to make sense. Gifting her an automobile doesn't just sound illogical, but it would also waste her time if the car develops any technical snags. India's best gymnast should focus on getting better with time rather than wasting it on a car she has little use for.
"There is no showroom or service centre of BMW in Tripura. If the car developed any technical snags, 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," she had told IANS earlier while explaining her decision to return the car.
After the Olympics, Karmakar's next challenge is the Challengers Cup in a month's time. The 23-year-old has just begun training for the competition, to be held in Germany. "I have started my preparation for the competition," she said. However, she confessed that the preparations wouldn't be as painstaking as they were before and during the 2016 Rio Olympics. "Training has resumed, but it has not been as rigorous as the Olympics."
After taking a long break as soon after the Olympics, the young gymnast cannot wait to get back into the competitive groove. "I am looking forward to getting back in competition mode after this good break," she wrote.
In order to reach the pinnacle of her sport, athletes have to sacrifice everything. And Karmakar had to go through the same to reach where she is today. Due to competitions and training, the gymnast couldn't be with her family for the last five Durga Puja celebrations, but has made it a point to do so this time. "I have been spending quality time with my family, after getting a chance to be at home for Durga Puja after a gap of five years," she said.