Pranab Bardhan, 60, became the oldest man to win a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games as he and partner Shibhnath Sarkar won the gold in the men’s pair event in bridge on Saturday.

Bardhan and his 56-year old partner finished on top of all five rounds in Final 2 as they edged out China’s Lixin Yang and Gang Chen, in what is the game’s debut at the Asian Games.

The 60-year-old dedicated his medal to his grandchild and the rest of his family, calling it the happiest day of his life.

“This is surely the happiest day of my life. I have been playing bridge for over 40 years and this is my biggest achievement as a player. I would like to dedicate this to my family, especially my grandchild back home,” Bardhan, who had a construction business, told reporters in Jakarta.

“I have not yet been able to get through to them. We are not allowed to carry phones to the playing area and the calls aren’t getting through,” he added.

Sarkar, who is a teacher at Jadavpur University, spoke about the moment they were on the podium and the national anthem played. “Words really cannot express what I am feeling right now. I am really, really happy and very, very proud. Seeing that Indian flag high up and hearing the national anthem play - it is really a proud moment for me,” he said.

“I could not sleep last night and ate only fruit in breakfast. It’s tough, the blood circulation shoots up with tension, we beat China and Singapore, it’s a great result for us.

“I would like to dedicate this medal to my late mother. Over the years, whenever I felt down or had not played well, she was always ready with words of encouragement. I want to say to her, ‘Ma! Look! I have won! I have won gold!’” the 56-year-old added.

The gold medalists also said that this win will give a boost for bridge in India.

“I think this win means a lot for the game of bridge in India. It will help attract a lot of newer and younger players to the game,” Sarkar said.

Bardhan added, “Bridge is more challenging than chess. It’s the most competitive indoor game.”