The Telegraph
Saturday , April 23 , 2016

Dipa arrives home to rousing reception

Agartala, April 22: Artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar arrived home here this morning to a rousing reception at Agartala airport.

Dipa's arrival had been much awaited. As her plane from Delhi arrived at Agartala airport, a bunch of photo-journalists, the journalist from a national news agency and her close relatives and parents had gathered in the airport lounge with permission from the CISF authority on duty.

No VIP was present at the airport to receive the "pride of the state" except BSF deputy inspector-general and former national-level gymnast Balaram Shil and a few women activists of the BJP's Mahila Morcha who garlanded Dipa and her coach Bisweswar Nandi and congratulated them by blowing conch-shells.

A few members of Abhay Nagar boys' club, a club in Dipa's neighbourhood in Agartala, were present at the airport as well.

Dipa later said over phone she had cleared the first major hurdle by qualifying for the main Olympics event. "But my real target is to win a medal in the Olympics. I will do my best. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 80 lakh for my training programme in the run-up to the Olympics and I will do my best to utilise this opportunity and honour," Dipa said.

Her coach and leading national gymnastics champion of the yesteryears, Bisweswar Nandi, who accompanied Dipa on her journey back home, said Dipa would rest for a few days at home and then fly to Delhi to resume her practice for the Rio Olympics. "We will do our best to ensure a medal for her," said a proud and beaming Nandi.

Both Dipa and her coach returned home uneventfully in a jeep.

The Assam Rifles has congratulated Dipa for her achievement in qualifying for the Olympics by putting out an advertisement in a local English daily.

The director-general of Assam Rifles Lt Gen. H.J.S. Sachdev said "You have done us proud" in the advertisement containing Dipa's photograph.

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