'Asian Games gold will change perceptions about bridge,' say medal winners

Asian Games gold medallists Shibnath Dey Sarkar and Pranab Bardhan hoped that more Indians will take up the sport after Asiad victory.

Shibnath De Sarkar and Pranab Bardhan won a gold in the pairs event in the recently concluded Asian Games.   -  PTI

The Asian Games gold medal in bridge will certainly help in popularising the game in the country in a big way feel the two champions who produced the gilded performance in Jakarta recently.

Shibnath Dey Sarkar and Pranab Bardhan, who won gold in the pairs category, said they were happy about their performance because this will convince a lot of their countrymen to look at bridge differently.

“People had a lot of misconceptions about Bridge while most of them thought it was another form of gambling. The Asian Games gold will in many convince those people that like chess, bridge is also game that is about the science of logic,” said Dey Sarkar during an interaction with the media organised by the Calcutta Sports Journalists Club on Monday.

“More than being a mere individual glory, this success is making us happy because this will bring about a change in the approach towards the game and we are hopeful of seeing more Indians participating in the next Asian Games,” Bardhan added.

Read: 'Bridge is a game based on logic' - Pranab Bardhan

Recounting the indifference about the game he faced from people at different stages, Bardhan said that the Asian Games success is likely to change it.

“In 2002 when I was applying to renew my passport to travel of Montreal to participate in a tournament, the passport officer had asked me why I was so keen about gambling,” Bardhan said recounting the misconceptions even the educated people had about the game.

“Even the Indian Olympic Association refused to allow us to travel to Jakarta not knowing what bridge is all about. It was only three days before the Games started that we got the permission. And we did not even receive the official blazer,” Dey Sarkar said.

The golden pair was joined by Debabrata Majumdar and Sumit Mukherjee, who were part of the Indian team, which won the bronze in the team category.

“This success will see a revival of many of the schools of bridge that had become defunct by now. At least in Kolkata we will restart the Calcutta Bridge Club and the programme to introduce the youngsters to the game,” said the National team coach Debashish Roy while summing the success of his side.