Former para swimmer and coach seeks redemption

Prasanta Karmakar, a Arjuna awardee with 44 international medals and 74 national gold medals, has had to endure tough times and now seeks redemption.

Prasanta Karmakar (right) with swimmer Suyash Jadhav, who competed in the finals of Rio Paralympics.   -  Special Arrangement

It has been an inspiring journey for Prasanta Karmakar, as the Arjuna awardee para swimmer with 44 international medals and 74 national gold medals, has done well as a coach too.

However, the 39-year-old from Bengal, who works as a swimming coach at the Nehru Stadium in Gurugram, has had to endure tough times, after being framed in a alleged false case and then suspended by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).

He tried to take the legal course, to get the unilateral three-year suspension revoked, but could not get the right lawyers to argue his case, despite spending a lot of money.

"On April 1, 2017, the fourth point on the agenda of the PCI Annual General Meeting was to take action against me. But, the committee found nothing. The same afternoon, one of the parents who was shooting a video of his 13-year-old daughter was stopped. I was called and eventually there was a commotion. Seven people were asked to write complaint against me, and they all did, in similar style, with the same date of April 1. It was a pre-determined plan to implicate me, build a ground for suspension," recalled Karmakar.

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It was another matter that the PCI was de-recognised by the Union Sports Ministry.

With Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee Deepa Malik heading the PCI now, Karmakar sees hope and expects justice won't be denied to him any further.

"I am trying to meet the Director General of Sports Authority of India (SAI), Mr. Sandeep Pradhan, and request him to give me a chance to work with the para swimmers. I am confident that we can win paralympic medals in swimming," said Karmakar.

Being trained at the National Institute of Sports and well qualified as a coach, Karmakar feels he paid the price for being outspoken.