Asian Games gold medal winning heptathlete Swapna Barman on Thursday claimed that she is yet to get the plot of land promised by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee after she triumphed in Indonesia last year, PTI reported.
The Jalpaiguri-born athlete was promised a plot of land in close proximity of the Sports Authority of India Eastern Centre in Salt Lake to facilitate her training.
“We have made so many requests but the officials have told us that the finance committee has rejected the proposal of a land. I want to know whether the Chief Minister is aware that I’ve been denied a piece of land despite her promise,” Barman said on the sidelines of an event Kolkata.
“I’ve just got Rs 10 lakh and a rented house, for which I’m paying rent of Rs 4,000 from my own pocket. It’s really frustrating and I feel ignored,” she rued.
She further cited example of 2002 Asian Games silver medallist Soma Biswas, who was provided land by the government at that time.
Archer Dola Banerjee (2010 CWG gold medallist), paddlers Mouma Das and Poloumi Ghatak, and swimmer Bula Chaudhary (all Arjuna awardees) were also gifted lands during the earlier regime. Barman is undergoing rehab for her back injury as well as a meniscus tear of the knee. “No one is talking in favour of me. I don’t know what has happened to the promise.”
Barman, who has a personal best of 6,026 points, has a challenging task of bettering it to 6,420 points to reach the Olympic qualifying mark. With time running out for Tokyo 2020, Barman said: “It’s tough but I’m confident. I will do my best next year to raise the points.”
That she is no longer a part of the Target Olympic Podium scheme makes it all the more difficult. “It would have been nice to be there in TOPS. But I don’t have any regrets... My focus is on ensuring that I’m in the best possible shape ahead of Tokyo Olympics,” she said.
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