Coach Nandi looking at the bigger picture

Conferred the Dronacharya Award for his fine contribution in Dipa's achievement, Nandi said he was ready to shoulder more responsibility.

Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar and her coach Bishweshwar Nandi are welcomed on their arrival in Agartala.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

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 success story.

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)," Nandi told Sportstar.

"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.”

“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 in the Rio Olympics, Nandi said, “Coaches of other countries came up to me and wondered how Dipa did 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 did 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 four years. I said, 'Things don't work like this in India. Hopefully, things will improve after Dipa's feat and we can field three boys and three girls in 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 wish both me and Dipa stay fit and fine. Keeping in mind our target for the next Olympics, I wish 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 we can succeed. It is a challenge for me and we want to do something significant in the next Olympics,” said Nandi.