Swapna's coach rues lack of government support
Kolkata : Swapna Barmans coach Subhas Sarkar on Tuesday said the government not having a sports policy in which medal winners are rewarded has come in the way of producing champion athletes.
Swapna braved poverty and having six toes on each foot to win the Asian Games gold medal in hepatathlon in August this year.
Despite the feat, Swapna got a mere Rs 10 lakh from the Mamata Banerjee-led ruling party while also being promised a job as gold medal winning compatriots like Dutee Chand of Odisha (Rs 3 crore) and Hima Das of Assam (Rs 1.6 crore) reaped rewards in crores.
"I don't want to get into political issues but everybody knows how much Swapna got," Sarkar said on the sidelines of a felicitation programme by Bandhan Bank that awarded the heptathlete Rs 10 lakh.
Sarkar gave the example of Haryana which is the leading state to produce medal winners including at the Asian Games where they saw 18 medallists -- five gold, five silver and eight bronze.
Swapna, the first individual gold medallist from Bengal after Saraswati Saha (200m event in Asian Games 2002), was among the three medal winners -- including two bronze -- from the state in the Indonesia Asiad this year.
"There's no dearth of talent in West Bengal but our government should take up a sports policy that will set an example for the next generation. I want to say this for the sake of next generation. There has to be hunger in you, for that you need a financial incentive.
"There are many talented kids like Swapna Barman in interior West Bengal but they are getting lost in the way without proper guidance.
"But if there's a financial incentive, for example one crore for an Asian Games or Commonwealth Games gold medal, many from downtrodden families of Bengal will be ready to even give their life. Just look at how Haryana are producing athletes with their government's full support," Sarkar said.