Agartala, Aug 21: Dipa Karmakar’s coach Bisheswar ndi had once sought the intervention of the Tripura government to “save the career” of the promising gymst from “unnerving conspiracies”.
In a long letter to the Secretary of the Tripura Sports Council on February 9, 2012, ndi had explained the threat to her career as emating from Gurdial Singh Bawa, the long-time chief coach of the Gymstics Federation of India.
“When I raised the issue of deliberate partiality to pull Dipa down to second place in a tourment in Bangladesh, Bawa threatened to come to Agartala with a stick to chastise me,” ndi, himself a five-time tiol champion, wrote in the letter. “I have told him to come with a pistol if he can,” ndi wrote in the letter, indicating his desperation.
ndi detailed how Dipa was relegated to second place to ensure the first position in the Sulta Kamal championships in Dhaka (Dec 28-30, 2011) went to Meekshi, a protege of Bawa and another woman coach close to him.
Through his clout, Bawa had ensured that this coach, now settled in Punjab but with roots in Tripura, was one of the judges at the Sulta Kamal championship.
ndi saw a “huge conspiracy” in pushing Dipa to second place, though her performance was “far, far better than Meekshi’s”.
When ndi raised the issue after the tourment, Bawa was furious and threatened to destroy both ndi as a coach and his promising protege Dipa.
In sheer panic, ndi wrote to the Tripura Sports Council to get the state government to intervene to save both his career as a coach and Dipa’s as a gymst. Media reports indicated huge interl bickering in the federation over sending a team of gymsts to the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow in 2014.
Dipa filly made the team and created history by being the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games gymstics after she bagged a bronze in the vault event.
The 20-year-old from Tripura collected 14.366 points to finish third. On Sunday in Rio, she scored 15.066 in the same event, a huge improvement in two years but not good enough to get her the Olympic bronze, which she missed by a whisker.
Unlike ndi, who was easily the best male gymst of his era, Bawa is described in an internet CV as a “player”, not a gymst in his pre-coaching career.
He was a small-time footballer and is said to have emerged as a chief coach in gymstics after starting off as a “helper of sorts”, as top Tripura and India gymst of the 1970s Lopa Mudra Ghosh described him.
The irony is that after having coached Dipa to Olympic glory Bisheswar ndi may still find himself deprived of a Drocharya award. “That is because Bawa is intensely lobbying to get a Drocharya for his lifetime achievement as a gymstic coach. But he has never produced a champion,” a bitter Ghosh said.
Ghosh and other top former gymsts from the eastern states have started a Facebook campaign for ndi to get a Drocharya award.
“We must ensure ndi, and not Bawa, gets the Drocharya if we want to pay respects to the legendary teacher of Mahabharata fame (after whom the award is med),” Ghosh told IANS. IANS