For ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, making the death-defying Produnova somersault and challenging the world’s best at the Olympics was relatively easier than trying to maneuvre her swanky new BMW through the narrow roads of Agartala.
Now, the Karmakars are planning to return the mean machine and seek a replacement – a car which can be driven around Tripura’s capital.
Dipa, 23, was gifted the car by the Hyderabad Badminton Association as a token of appreciation for her feat – the first Indian to participate in the gymnastics of the showpiece event though she narrowly failed to win a medal after finishing fourth.
BMW’s brand ambassador in India, former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, had handed over the car keys to Dipa along with two medal winners, shuttler PV Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik. Sindhu’s coach P Gopichand was also given a BMW car.
“Roads in Tripura are not good enough to drive such a vehicle. There are no capable drivers in Agartala town to drive a BMW and the company has no showroom or service centre in the state,” Dipa’s father Dulal Karmakar told HT.
Dipa’s BMW XI costs around Rs 30 to Rs 35 lakh.
He said the choice will be limited to auto companies that have showroom and service centres in the gymnast’s hometown but added that they were yet to decide on a particular car.
Dipa was not available for comments as she was busy training for the Challenger’s Cup in Germany next month.
Hyderabad Badminton Association president V Chamundeshwarnath they were ready to replace the BMW car with any other car that Dipa considers fit for Agartala roads.
“She called me to say there was no BMW service centre at Agartala and wanted to know what the way out was if there was any damage to the car or it had to be taken for servicing. I took it up with Sachin Tendular and he immediately brought the issue to the notice of the BMW authorities,” he told HT.
Dipa, who is eyeing a medal in the 2020 Olympics in Japan, is among the very few gymnasts in the world to participate in the Produnova, also called the ‘vault of death’ for the risks involved in the somersault. The event is named after Russian gymnast Yelena Produnova.