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Success at the Asian Games
Bardhan & Sarkar Win Pairs Event
India’s haul of a gold and two bronze medals in the bridge competition at the Asian Games in Jakarta may have come as a pleasant surprise, but to the followers of the game in the country it was a vindication of sorts, especially after the uncertainty over the Indian team’s participation in the quadrennial event.
Bridge was included in the Asian Games for the first time but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) initially refused to clear the Indian contingent for the Games. “We got the clearance only three days before the Games, that too after the intervention of HCL chief Shiv Nadar,” Debashis Roy, the coachcum-captain of the Indian team, told TOI.
Roy, a for mer India inter national, was also entrusted with the job of selecting the national team by the Bridge Federation of India (BFI). Speaking to TOI shortly after India’s Pranab Bardhan and Shibnath Dey Sarkar won a gold medal in the Pairs event, Roy said: “I am delighted with the result. I had picked the duo specifically for the Pairs event because they share an excellent understanding and are very sound technically as well as tactically.”
India had fielded three pairs in a 29-strong field and all three pairs — Bardhan and Dey Sarkar, Sumit Mukherjee and Debabrata Majumder, and Subhash Gupta and Sapan Desai — qualified for the final round which comprised 12 Pairs. Mukherjee and Majumder finished ninth with a score of 333 while Gupta and Desai finished last.
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 edge out China’s Lixin Yang and Gang Chen (378 points) in the five-round competition to finish on top of the heap. Bardhan just became the oldest Indian to win an Asian Games gold medal.
In the Mixed Pair event, India’s Bachiraju Satyanarayana and Kiran Nadar missed out on a medal after finishing fifth. Another Indian pair in fray, Rajeev Khandelwal and Himani Khandelwal finished seventh with 329 points. In women’s pair event, Hema Deora and Marianne Karmarkar ended in the seventh spot. Roy felt that India were a touch unlucky to get a bronze in the team event. The six-member men’s team comprised Jaggy Shivdasani, Rajeshwar Tewari, Ajay Khare, Raju Tolani, Debabrata Majumder and Sumit Mukherjee.
The mixed team, which also delivered a bronze, comprised Kiran Nadar, Hema Deora, Himani Khandelwal, Bachiraju Satyanarayana, Gopinath Manna and Rajeev Khandelwal. “We have got a fine bunch of players and I would urge the BFI to retain the core of this contingent and prepare them for future international meets, including the 2020 World Mind Sports Games in Tokyo,” he added.