GAME PLAN: Dream car, stays in dreams

Jaideep Ghosh

Rio de Janeiro : India's Dipa Karmakar Participates in the vault during the artistic gymnastics women's  final at the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, August 14, 2016. Photo - PTI

Rio de Janeiro : India’s Dipa Karmakar Participates in the vault during the artistic gymnastics women’s final at the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, August 14, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Remember Dipa Karmakar? Our darling from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics?

Well, it seems she’ll walk to the gym after all.

The gymnast, who made headlines after making the vault final and finishing fourth, has gone public in saying that the BMW presented to her for her fine showing in Rio would be far too expensive for her to maintain in her hometown of Agartala.

Dipa was among the three athletes who were presented with these cars by Sachin Tendulkar at the behest of Hyderabad District Badminton Association boss Chamundeswarnath, at a ceremony which was covered with much fanfare.

The other two were badminton silver medallist PV Sindhu and bronze medal winning wrestler Sakshi Malik.

Dipa says it would be way too expensive for her to maintain the BMW in Agartala, since the city didn’t have a company service station. Nor were the roads up to scratch. What she didn’t say was this – she is still to receive the car.

It’s been two months and the automobile is nowhere to be seen. In today’s day and time of scheduled deliveries, it wouldn’t be too surprising if gets a little disillusioned.

Now, in terms of brownie points, everyone got some. BMW did, for their grand gesture. So did Tendulkar, for HIS grand gesture (not to mention he is a contracted BMW brand ambassador; also not to mention that he is also the Indian Olympic contingent’s brand ambassador). Chamundeswarnath also got his moment under the sun. But no car.

Indian-Cricketer-Sachin-Ramesh-TendulkarDipa now wants Tendulkar to give her an equivalent amount in cash. This is a fair point, since she can utilise that in other ways. But therein also lies the problem.

You see, it’s not Tendulkar’s money, so he can’t’ give it away. And a cricketer giving away their own money is unheard of in India.

Chamundeswarnath, on the other hand, still thinks the car would be an ideal gift. We still don’t know if he has a BMW dealership.

The crux of the matter isn’t whether Dipa will get cash for car; or whether the BMW will work fine in Agartala. The essence of this is that the hype surrounding our scattered few Olympic successes is over, so we can pack our stuff and chill.

Whether the promised goodies reach or not is irrelevant. What really irks is the attitude. It was a bad idea to start with. You should know what a good gift for which athlete is. In all cases, negotiable currency is the best way to address our appreciation, as is the case with state and central government awards.

Presents in kind are something that has often led to embarrassing situations.

I recall Harbhajan Singh and a few more cricketers being in a similar situation a few years ago. Bhajji and a few others were, at a ceremony held with much fanfare, presented with apartments by a company that has since gone spiralling down.

Those were the days when this company was the platform to be seen on. Everyone – politicians, film stars, both male and female and sportspersons – were all rubbing shoulders with the boss. But as things turned out, those apartments never were actually in the cricketers’ possession. I’m beginning to think cash would be a better idea.

The case at hand is that it is easy to make promises on a public forum and then forget about it. We also have had such situations in other walks of life. Farmers who have been affected by drought or flood have often been offered Government assistance. Then they spend half their lives chasing those cheques.

Here we have athletes who are supposed to focus on doing their stuff and not bother with such things having to come out in the open and essentially express their displeasure in the most polite way possible.

The message is clear. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

ODI power: What a series of one-day internationals we saw in South Africa!

The Proteas swept Australia aside 5-0 in a series which saw some incredible batting performances from the home team. Even the last match at Cape Town on Wednesday night was quite a spectacle, but this time for the knock played by David Warner.

Some of the best stroke play studded his 173, but it still wasn’t enough to end the nightmare for Australia as they went down 0-5 in the series.

It’s been quite a trying year for the Australians. They have been whitewashed thrice – 3-0 by Sri Lanka in Tests; 3-0 by India in T20s and now 5-0 by South Africa in ODIs.

Closer to home, England finally did what all teams have failed to do since 2014 – beat Bangladesh in an ODI series at home.

The visitors locked off the final match of the series at Chittagong by four wickets to claim a 2-1 win, which should be notice enough for India too, since the Englishmen will be shifting base here soon. That would be quite the series to follow.