Bengal shooter wants Ganguly to cheer for him in London Olympics
Olympics-bound Bengal shooter Joydeep Karmakar hopes that former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly comes to London to cheer him and his fellow shooters during the mega-event.
Karmakar, who made it to the Olympics after clearing the National Rifles Association of India selection procedure, had met Ganguly before leaving for the ISSF World Cup in London.
Ganguly had told him that he might drop in to cheer for him in the London Olympics.
"It has been a very short conversation. I'll be happy if Dada comes to see his "younger brother" battle it out in London... Hope if someone of us wins, he does his shirt-swirl act again," Karmakar told PTI in an interview before he left for London for the World Cup.
The World Cup will be held at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, the same venue that will host the Olympics and the 32-year-old is confident that India would better their Beijing 2008 performance.
"No one is going to leave any stone unturned for their preparation and, I believe, with the raw talent and inherent ability of marksmanship at their disposal, India with 11 shooters this time around will improve on their Beijing show," said Karmakar.
He also said that he was looking forward to meeting Beijing gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and his personal trainer Heinz Reinkemeier in London.
"We were associated with each other before too. We have plans, but it's not so easy to work out as our timing and requirements are totally different. I am looking forward to meeting him in London (during the World Cup)," the rifle shooter said.
Karmakar carries huge burden of expectations on his shoulders being the first male shooter from Bengal to qualify for the Olympics since Bhagirath Samai's Los Angeles appearance in 1984.
He said that people in India always expect a lot from the shooters, but ironically they still do not form part of the mainstream sport in 'cricket-crazy' India.
"Shooting evokes unprecedented response in the country, but the irony of the situation is that it is still regarded as the 'other sport'," he lamented. Taking a dig at cricket, he said that every sport at one level is fiercely competitive.
"It is not a sport played by just 11 countries but nearly 150 countries, including first world countries," Karmakar said.
"Shooters are a modest bunch of athletes who concentrate on performance rather than building up an IPL-type hype," he added.
Karmakar, along with ace shooter Gagan Narang, will compete in the 50m rifle-prone event at the London Olympics.