Asian Games bridge gold medallists Bardhan, Sarkar devoid of official blazers

first_imgThe Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was at first reluctant to send them to the Asian Games 2018. They then did not provide them with kits. And now they have not even been given official blazers for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reception for medallists. Pranab Bardhan and Shibhnath Sarkar, who won gold in men’s pair event of bridg in Jakarta have been overlooked.Despite winning a precious gold medal at the Asian Games, Bardhan and Sarkar are among the squad members who have not been provided with Team India blazers by IOA to attend the meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Bardhan and Sarkar won India their final and 15th gold medal at the Asian Games right after Amit Panghal won India’s only boxing gold. With the medal, Bardhan, 60, became India’s oldest gold medallist at the Asian Games.Despite bringing laurels to the country, the bridge team’s non-playing captain and coach Debasish Ray said that they have received step-motherly treatment from the IOA.Also read – Pranab Bardhan, India’s oldest Asian Games gold medallist, was called a gambler onceRay, who has not even been invited for the fuction, told reporters on the sidelines of the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club felicitation ceremony in Kolkata, “We have not been provided blazers with India’s logo for the Prime Minister’s reception ceremony. I am not even invited.”Due to the non-availability of the official blazers, the gold medallists are planning to stitch the IOA logo on their old blazers so that they can at least be a part of the official photograph.advertisement”We plan to stitch the IOA logo on our own blazers and attend the function. We are left with no other option,” Ray added.Initially, the IOA had refused to clear the Indian bridge contingent for the Asian Games. However, with the intervention of HCL chief Shiv Nadar, they got the go ahead, Ray revealed.READ – Asian Games 2018: Pranab Bardhan, Shibhnath Sarkar win gold in bridge men’s pairThe HCL International Bridge Championship is the largest competition of the little known sport in the world.Thereafter, since the Bridge Federation of India does not come under the aegis of the IOA, they refused to provide them with the official kit and ceremonial wear for the Opening and Closing Ceremony.It was then that the Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had intervened and the Sports Ministry went on to bear the costs of the kits and uniforms of all athletes whose federations were not affiliated with IOA.Despite all the problems, the bridge team came back to India three medals — a gold in men’s pair and two bronze in mixed team and men’s team event.Also read – Howrah duo Pranab Bardhan and Shibnath Sarkar win gold in Asian GamesBardhan and Sarkar were also part of the six-member men’s team that bagged the bronze medal.Overall, it was a brilliant and promising debut for the sport and India at the Games.Ray, who is a former India international and was given the responsibility of selection of the national team, spoke about the lack of infrastructure for the sport in West Bengal and urged the state government to help them ahead of selection trials for various tournaments.”We have no big demands. We just want a common place to practice the game as all of us don’t stay nearby and it gets difficult at times.”READ – Asian Games 2018: India settle for two bronze medals in bridgeThe Bengal Bridge Association, in April, struggled to find a venue for a national tournament after the state government cancelled permission for Khudiram Anushilan Kendra for panchayat elections, Ray recalled.”We were allotted Biswa Bangla Convention Centre in New Town for which we had to play a hefty Rs 7-8 lakh,” Ray said, underlining their plea for a permanent venue.Bardhan, 60, who is a builder by profession, and his 56-year old partner Dey Sarkar, who teaches at Jadavpur University, garnered 384 points to see off China’s Lixin Yang and Gang Chen (378 points) in the five-round competition to finish on top.”I urge schools to include bridge in their curriculum. People have a conception that this is gambling. It’s absolutely false. While going to Indonesia, I was asked by the immigration officer why I am going to play cards. He doubted me. Only after I explained did he understand,” Bardhan said.(With IANS inputs)last_img

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