'Ignored' Olympic shooter plans to leave West Bengal

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Joydeep-Karmakar
Kolkata, Sep 1: Shooter Joydeep Karmakar, who missed a medal by a whisker at the London Olympics held a month ago, is planning to move out from West Bengal, his home state, said a report published in Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika. Sports personalities and minister in Bengal stood beside Karmakar to change his decision, but the shooter, who was conferred the Arjuna Award after returning from the Olympics, said he felt bad for the state government allegedly ignored him even after coming up with a good performance at the mega event.

Karmakar, 32, said ministers and officials from Haryana requested him to represent their state in the National Games and other national tournaments. He said the Bengal government did not even acknowledge his Olympic performance after his return even though the railways, his own organisation, and other organisations welcomed him. According to Karmakar, he had approached the sports minister, Madan Mitra, seeking a plot to set up his practice arena but he did not get any response.

Bengal's No. 1 sporting icon Sourav Ganguly said facilities to help Karmakar in his shooting practices could be made available in Bengal. He also said that he was ready to help the shooter in case the latter faced any problem of sponsorship. Mitra said he would talk to Karmakar personally and look out for a sponsor for the Olympian. "The people of the state has welcomed him and we hope he will not leave us," Mitra said.

Another Olympian from Bengal, archer Dola Banerjee wasn't surprised by Karmakar's decision, said the report. Banerjee said she had also left Bengal for she had received the necessary support from the Tatas. Athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, who too had left Bengal once, blamed the poor infrastructure in the state for such cases. Why can't the state government, which is aiming eye in all other sectors, ensure the minimum infrastructure to Karmakar? she asked.

Mary Kom, the boxer form Manipur who won a bronze at the London Olympics, said the state governments must back sportspersons and encourage them. She said the Haryana government not only facilitated those who won medal at the London Games but also helped those who even participated.

The Haryana government has given Rs 11 lakh to each of the state players who played at the Olympics besides a costly car. Even states like Manipur and Mizoram gave Rs 25 lakh to their Olympians. Karmakar, who finished fourth, has received a meagre Rs 2 lakh till now, said the daily. He said he did not get any acknowledgement despite winning medals for Bengal in the last National Games. An air rifle shooter requires Rs 30-40 lakh a year for his training.

Will the Bengal government succeed in convincing Karmakar to stay back?

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