- Dipa Karmakar says the roads in Agartala are too narrow for a BMW and also the city does not have a single BMW showroom or service centre.
Expressing her inability to maintain a luxury car in Agartala, celebrated Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar requested that she should instead be given a cash prize equivalent to the vehicle's cost even as the body which offered her the gift promised to 'look' into the matter.
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 cricket legend Sachin 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, Dipa says she wants to now return the gift as roads in Agartala are too narrow for a BMW and also the city does not have a single BMW showroom or service centre.
The 23-year-old's coach Bisheswar Nandi was quoted as saying that he has requested an "amount equivalent to the value of the car" should be transferred to Dipa's account.
Chamundeswaranath said he will have a word with the gymnast on the difficulties she is facing in handling the vehicle.
"We will discuss with her. Whatever Dipa is comfortable with, we will look into it; if not BMW car," Chamundeswarinath said.
"The idea of gifting cars to the sportspersons was to encourage them to do better," he added.
Tendulkar, who was the Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian team at Rio Olympics, handed over the keys of the vehicles to them at a function held .
The 23-year-old Tripura girl scored 15.066 points, a mere 0.150 less than eventual bronze-medallist Giulia Steingruber (15.216) of Switzerland, to narrowly miss out on a podium finish.
Dipa's father Dulal Karmakar told PTI that he, Dipa and her coach B S Nandi collectively expressed the desire to return the car as there is no servicing centre in Agartala.
"We want to return the BMW car. There is no servicing centre for BMW car at Agartala. In case of any mechanical dificulty a technician would have to fly from Kolkata and we have to bear the entire cost," Dipa's father Dulal Karmakar said in Agartala.
However, Karmakar denied that they wanted to return the car because roads are in bad shape in Tripura.
"The roads here are good. May not be as wide as that of Delhi and Kolkata, but BMW car can move here," he pointed out.
Karmakar said they had requested the Hyderabad District Badminton Association to pay them money so that with it they could buy a Maruti Suzuki or a Hyundai car which have servicing centres as
well as showroom in Agartala.