After guiding gymnast Dipa Karmakar to an unprecedented fourth place in vault in the Rio Olympics, her coach Bishweshwar Nandi said his outlook and responsibility had changed after his ward’s superb performance.
Conferred the Dronacharya Award for his fine contribution in Dipa’s achievement, Nandi said he was ready to shoulder more responsibility.
“My thinking has changed a lot after the Rio Games.
“Participating in the Olympics is a big achievement, reaching the final and getting the fourth place are even bigger achievements (for Dipa).
“But we have to think about the country. Since the sport has become so popular because of Dipa, we should capitalise on it and make it bigger.
“When more students come in, the competitiveness increases and the overall quality improves,” Nandi told The Hindu on Tuesday.
“The Government of India has conferred the Dronacharya award on me. This has increased my responsibilities. We have to work hard to improve the standard of Indian gymnastics.
“We need the support of sponsors, the Government, which is helping a lot and needs to help more, and the media to make this happen.”
Talking about the attention he and Dipa received at the Rio Olympics, Nandi said, “Coaches of other countries came up to me and wondered how Dipa had done so well when gymnastics in India is not in good shape. ‘How did you teach her such difficult moves?’ they asked. I told them that she did it in three months.
“We had done the ‘Produnova’ vault earlier but we did hard training in those three months.
“They (the well-known countries in gymnastics) have selected their teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will train the athletes for yours. I said, ‘Things don’t work like this in India. Hope things will improve after Dipa’s feat and we can field three boys and three girls in the next Olympics.’”
Nandi, however, admitted that it was a huge task for him and Dipa to maintain their focus over the next four years.
“It is a big challenge. No one knows what will happen in the next four years. I hope Dipa and I stay fit and fine. Keeping in mind our target for the next Olympics, I hope she stays injury free.
“Anything can happen in life. However, we cannot adopt a negative approach. Our aim should be clear and goal definite.
“Then only can we succeed. It is a challenge for me and we want to do something significant in the next Olympics,” said Nandi.