Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar honoured shuttler P V Sindhu, wrestler Sakshi Malik and gymnast Dipa Karmakar besides badminton coach Pullela Gopichand for doing India proud at the Rio Olympics, by presenting them BMWs on Saturday.
The luxury cars were gifted by Hyderabad District Badminton Association president V Chamundeshwarnath. Tendulkar, who was the Indian contingent’s goodwill ambassador at the August 5-21 multisport event in Brazil, handed over the keys to the players at a function in Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy.
While Olympics silver medallist Sindhu was gifted a red BMW 320d, it was the deep-blue new X1 for Sakshi who won a bronze in the 58-kg category at Rio. Dipa, who narrowly missed the third place at women’s vault gymnastics, and Sindhu’s coach Gopichand got white BMW X1 and 320d respectively. While the luxury sedan 320d costs anything above Rs 37 lakh, the sports utility vehicle X1 starts at Rs 29.90 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi).
Tendulkar took selfies with the Olympic stars, and was all praise for them for their performance in Rio.
“I watched all your games with a lot of curiosity. You have won the laurels to the nation. And the entire country is proud of your achievement,” the 43-year-old icon said. “On behalf of the nation, I extend my congratulations to all the players. I hope they would bring gold in the next Olympics.”
The cricketer complimented the players individually, and particularly referred to the performance of Dipa. Though India’s first gymnast at any Olympics could not win a medal, she “won the hearts of the people of the country with her stupendous show”, he said.
He also appreciated the efforts of Gopichand in grooming champions.
Sindhu said she was happy to receive the valuable gift from Sachin. “Last time, when I received the first car—a Swift Dzire—from Sachin sir, he told me that he would present me with another car if I won a medal at Olympics. Today, my dream has come true,” she said.
Sindhu, who is from this city, also thanked Gopichand for “helping me travel to this stage”.
“I will definitely put in my best efforts to get gold medals in my future tournaments,” she added.
Sakshi said she was overwhelmed by the love and blessing from Tendulkar, adding she felt “very proud” to have got the gift from him.
“Earlier, I was unknown to most people in India but today the whole of my country is with me. Surely, I’ll put my efforts get a gold in Tokyo,” she said.
Dipa said she was proud to get the love and affection from compatriots, though she did not win a medal.
Gopichand said he was proud of the girls who made the nation proud. “They saved India’s prestige at Olympics,” he said.
Sachin Tendulkar, apart from actor Salman Khan and music composer AR Rahman, was the goodwill ambassador who even went to Rio de Janeiro to cheer for the Indian contingent. The legendary cricketer is also brand ambassador of BMW India.