- 'See, it is not at all like this, I cannot even do that because getting a gift from Sachin Sir's hands itself is a very big thing. I got the key from him. In fact, I cannot even think of refusing or returning it.'
India's trailblazing gymnast Dipa Karmakar on Thursday denied reports that she was returning the BMW car presented to her by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar for her historic performance at the Rio Olympic Games.
"See, it is not at all like this, I cannot even do that because getting a gift from Sachin Sir's hands itself is a very big thing. I got the key from him. In fact, I cannot even think of refusing or returning it," said Dipa, who claimed that her favourite sportstar was Tendulkar.
Karmakar, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, produced a memorable performance at the big event in Rio finishing fourth in the vault event.
A BMW car was gifted to her by the Hyderabad District Badminton Association president V Chamundeswaranath in appreciation of her performance, the keys of which was presented to her by India's Tendulkar at a felicitation ceremony at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad on August 28 where she was honoured alongside Olympic silver-medallist shuttler P V Sindhu and bronze-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik.
However, media reports on Wednesday said that Dipa wants to now return the gift as the roads in Agartala were too narrow for a BMW and also the city does not have a single BMW showroom or service centre.
In fact, she herself confirmed that she was returning the car because of maintenance issues.
"Very thankful to Sachin sir for gifting me BMW but cannot maintain in tripura, so giving back. Thank you for agreeing to give funds for it," she wrote on Twitter.
A day later, Dipa sought to clarify that it was mutually agreed to give the BMW back and take another car which is locally available.
"See, here in Agartala, we don't have showroom or service centre of BMW and, therefore, I asked them (Badminton Association of Hyderabad) for any other vehicle which is locally available and they also gave their consent for that. Other than this there is no other issue," she said on Thursday.
Her father Dulal had also stated that due to absence of any BMW service centre in Tripura, he along with Dipa and her coach Bishweshwar Nandi, had jointly requested Chamundeswaranath if they could give her the price of the BMW as cash with which she would buy a car that has its showroom and servicing centre in her home town.
"No question arises of returning back the gifted BMW in Hyderabad. The main problem is that BMW does not have a showroom here, if the car has any problem we have to fly a mechanic from Kolkata and it will be very expensive. So, I along with my daughter and her coach, had decided and ask them that instead of a car if they could give the price of it as cash so that we can buy a car which is available here," said Dulal.