Dipa Karmakar’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi never used corporal punishment over his ward during a career spanning more than 15 years, but he used to attack the star gymnast “psychologically” to stir up her emotions, something he believes played a part in her historic fourth-place finish at the Rio Olympics
Revealing the secret of his training, the Dronacharya awardee coach said, “In this era of scientific training, corporal punishment is a strict ‘no-no’.”
“I’ve to attack her psychologically. At times she would break down and was so hurt that she would plead, ‘don’t tell me like this, it’s more painful than getting caned’, but that’s my technique.
“No doubt, she is very obedient and that’s why she has been able to reach here. A sportsperson can only achieve success by heeding to their coaches’ advice,” Nandi said at a felicitation in Kolkata.
Nandi further said parents have become very protective these days so there is no way you can use caning.
“During our times we were subjected to a lot of caning but not anymore. Time has changed. Parents won’t send their kids if I start caning,” he said.
“We have to make way by scaring them or screaming at them. As of Dipa, I try to hurt her feelings by saying something, so as to channelise her aggression that’s inside her. My job is to bring out the best in her,” Nandi, who has coached Dipa since she was seven years old, said.
The only Indian woman gymnast to compete in the Olympics, Dipa missed a bronze medal in vault by 0.15 points but has since then become the toast of the nation.
Dipa successfully attempted the Produnova vault which has the highest difficulty level of 7.0, something that has made her achievement more remarkable.
“Every vault has lost some points, still Produnova will remain extremely difficult,” Nandi said.
Looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Nandi said their first focus is on next year’s World Championships in Montreal.
“We need some more infrastructure. The DG SAI has promised to provide us equipment. We will sit and plan out. Hopefully by 2020, we will have a couple more gymnasts at Tokyo Olympics.”
Nandi said he would need support from coaches all over India.
“It’s difficult for me to make a team. I need support from coaches all over India. But for us who are coaching women gymnasts in India, we hope to make a team of five. It’s a tough task and I can’t do on my own for such a big event like the Olympics,” Nandi, who also coaches two talented gymnasts Asmita Pal and Aruna Reddy, said.
Asked about the Rio experience, Nandi said they faced some language problem and a team manager was the need of the hour.
“We had a lot of problems making them understand what we needed. A team manager would have certainly helped us,” he said.
Overwhelmed by the response she’s getting all over the country, Agartala girl Dipa in her first visit to Kolkata after her Rio sojourn said: “I’m really excited to see the kind of response I’m seeing for the sport nowadays. Gymnastics is now well-known in India. I urge youngsters to do sports as well as studies.
“Maybe I’ve been able to raise some hope among people of the country, that’s why I’m getting such an overwhelming support. I know their blessings are with me and I will give my full effort to get a medal in Tokyo.”