Dipa Karmakar, India's first ever female Olympic gymnast, was recently gifted a BMW car for her commendable performances in the recently concluded Rio Olympics. Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar handed the keys of the four BMWs at the event organised by the Hyderabad Badminton Association to Dipa, PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Pullela Gopichand.
However, Dipa's case has been creating a lot of headlines recently, regarding her decision of returning the car due to maintenance issues. The bad condition of the roads in Tripura, the state from where Dipa hails, also adds to the gymnast's troubles.
Now, one would be wrong if he thought that Tendulkar was indeed the one who had gifted the luxury vehicles to the successful athletes. In truth, the individual, who actually is responsible for this massive gesture, is V Chamundeshwarnath, known simply as Chamundi among his friends.
The former Andhra Pradesh batsman, who has featured in 44 first-class games retired in 1992 and shifted to cricket administration. Chamundi also acted as the Indian cricket team's manager for the World T20 in 2009. As reported in the Indian Express, Chamundi has presented at least 17 luxury cars to 15 sportspersons of the country in a bid to recognise their contributions in their respective fields.
The man who gifted her the car also transferred Rs 25 lakh in Dipa’s bank account when he heard her spell out her troubles in terms of driving and maintaining a BMW car in interior Agartala.
He also has links with top corporate personalities and is well acquainted with cricketers Mohammad Azharuddin and Tendulkar. The 57-year-old used these links to arrange luxury vehicles for the successful Indian athletes at the Rio Olympics.
While the initial plan was only to reward Sindhu and Gopichand, both being from Hyderabad, by pooling resources from several NRIs and film producers. However, Tendulkar intervened and managed to avail discounts from BMW. Chamundi told the Indian Express,“My friends and I had enough money to gift two BMWs. Sachin helped me by getting a discount from BMW and we were able to hand over the keys to four cars. It was Sachin’s idea to give four cars instead of only two.”
Previously in 2001, Chamundi had handed over a Hyundai Accent to Gopichand after his success at the All-England tournament. Afterwards, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza was at the receiving end of this kind gesture when she won the Wimbledon's women doubles title. She received a Fiat Palio from the great man.
Sania Nehwal's bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012 also saw her getting a BMW. In that event, only Chamundi gave his word to Sindhu that she will be gifted a BMW by Sachin if she could replicate Saina's triumph.
Controversies, though, never seem to stop following Chamundi. In 2009, he was removed from his post as the secretary of Andhra Cricket Association and was also accused of sexual harassment by a group of women cricketers from Andhra.
Chamundi believes that apart from cricket no other sport is much appreciated in this country and he is only doing his bit to give the necessary recognition to the people who deserve it. He also added how he spent his own money before asking his friends to do the same.