Trinamool demands Dipa Karmakar be made India's sports ambassador

Agartala:The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday felicitated ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar and her coach and demanded that she be appointed sports ambassador of India.

The party said it would raise the issue in Parliament.

TMC all India vice-president Mukul Roy, accompanied by party Lok Sabha Member and ex-star footballer Prasun Banerjee and party's Salboni (in West Midnapore district) MLA Srikanta Mahato and state party leaders and legislators, felicitated Dipa and her coach Bisheshwar Nandi at a function at the gymnast's residence here.

"Dipa Karmakar must be appointed as sports ambassador of India. We would raise the issue in the winter session of Parliament beginning from November 9," Prasun Banerjee told reporters at the felicitation function.

"'Golden girl' of India Dipa should be chosen as the brand ambassador of Indian sports for her incredible success in Indian gymnastics, without any proper infrastructure and with her personal initiative and zeal along with her coach," said Banerjee, who had represented India at the Asian Games thrice and also captained the country's national team on a number of occasions.

Banerjee, who is the brother of legendary footballer P.K. Banerjee, said that it is unfortunate that even after 70 years of India's Independence the country has no sports policy.

He said it is also very regrettable that Mamata Banerjee, when she was the sports and youth affairs minister of India, tried to formulate a sports policy in 1992 but the then Congress led government's Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh did not allow her to go ahead.

Banerjee, an Arjuna awardee, assured all possible help to Dipa and said that she would surely win a gold medal for India at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The 23-year-old Tripura girl, who had become the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, scored 15.066 points, a mere 0.150 less than eventual bronze winner Giulia Steingruber (15.216) of Switzerland in the final of the women's vault event at the Rio Olympics.