Indian athletes have been making the nation proud through the last week and a half with their showings on the biggest international stage at Rio 2016, with the brightest stars yet being artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar and steeplechaser Lalita Babar. Underdogs who had not been among the biggest medal hopefuls before the start of the Olympics, Dipa and Lalita have reached very close to getting a medal, both in sports in which India have never won one.
Dipa’s fourth placed finish on Sunday and Lalita’s tenth placed finish on Monday are the highest ever achievements in these sports by an Indian in Olympics history, male or female.
Virender Sehwag, who has taken to Twitter like the second innings of his cricket career, has come up with a great suggestion, to honour the achievements of both Dipa and Lalita. Despite their heroic efforts, they were not on the podium at the end of their events, and Sehwag summed up a sentiment of many in expressing that they deserve a more tangible token to mark their feats.
Sehwag cited the personal situations of rising against odds of Dipa and Lalita, and requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu that a train or a plane be named after them. This will be a great way to inspire young people of the nation, he said.
One fear regarding the Dipamania that has gripped the nation right now is that this is short-lived. As has happened before with exceptional athletes in unusual sports in the past, it is feared that she might fade away from popular consciousness as meteorically as she has come into it.
If Sehwag’s suggestion is followed, Dipa and Lalita’s names will be made an intricate part of the public transport system, forever drilled into the nation’s collective memory. Dipa and Lalita have been two of the people who have brought together 1.3 billion in a common cause, for however the shortest duration. To make their names into veins binding the Indian landform together is the least that can be done.Published 15 Aug 2016, 21:25 IST