It was a proud moment for India when its first woman gymnast in Olympics, Dipa Karmakar, entered the vaults final on Sunday night.
But it was also a night of disappointment, at least for the Indian fans. Star Sports, the channel telecasting the Rio Olympics for millions of Indian viewers, preferred to show other athletes over Dipa’s performance.
Many such disappointed fans took to social media to vent their frustration.
Bollywood super star Amitabh Bachchan, a sports fan, tweeted: “T 2341 - #DipaKarmakar .. they said they would show you but never did… channels interested in the other country athletes! Good luck.”
T 2341 - #DipaKarmakar .. they said they would show you but never did .. channels interested in the other country athletes ! Good luck— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) August 7, 2016
Viewers got a glimpse of Dipa when she stepped on the floor of the Rio Olympic arena, the venue of the gymnastics competition. Another shot, lasting under five seconds, showed her practising at the vaults—the discipline where she bagged a slot for the finals.
Thereafter, the cameras moved over to Brazilian and British athletes. Indian viewers even saw how a girl from Guatemala performed at the women’s beam. But no Dipa Karmakar.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted, “Why don’t they show #DipaKarmakar? Waiting.....”. Though he added a clarification that the sports feed is sent by the host broadcaster.
Why don't they show #DipaKarmakar? Waiting.....— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 7, 2016
Just to remind people that the feed comes from the host broadcaster in Rio, Star Sports doesn't control it.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 7, 2016
Star Sports showed a recording of Dipa’s first attempt at the vault. It also showed some glimpses of Dipa’s performance at the uneven bars. But that was it.
Worse, viewers could hear Dipa’s name being announced for the floor exercise and could see her standing at the edge of the mat. But the TV cameras were more interested in showing a British woman’s performance—who, unfortunately, faltered terribly, on the beams. The music for Dipa’s floor exercise could be heard in the background.
Melissa Arulappan, a Dipa fan tweeted, “After the effort to stay up @StarSportsIndia telecasts only 1 1/2 of #DipaKarmakar 4 routines.What an insult to our first ever woman gymnast.”
Former TV host for IPL, Mandira Bedi, tweeted, “Now you see her now you don’t. Seriously @StarSportsIndia?”