Agartala: Meet 15-year-old gymnast Priyanka Dasgupta who caught the attention of people from across the country with her recent performance at 3rd Khelo India Youth Games 2020 in Guwahati, Assam after she won four gold medals in the sporting discipline.
Speaking with EastMojo, Priyanka said last year she won three silver medals at the Khelo India games but missed the gold by a very short margin. However, this year with more support from family, coach and friends, she managed to bag four gold medals for her state.
“It was my mother who first decided to take me to Soma Nandi Ma’am and she trained me since I was 4 years old. Every day, I train for about 6 to 7 hours in Netaji Subhash Regional Coaching Centre (NSRCC). Dipa Karmakar is my idol and she has been so supportive to me. She helps us by giving us tips on how to prepare and perform in games,” Priyanka said.
Priyanka’s focus is now on Paris Olympics 2024 for which she is training hard under Dronacharya Awardee Bisweshwar Nandi, who also happens to be the coach of Dipa Karmakar.
Priyanka is currently getting trained for her next tournament, junior national games in Allahabad starting from January 29.
“My first big game was in Dilip Singh trophy where I won three medals. I have won a total of six gold medals, four bronze and four silver medals so far. I left behind Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal in the recent competition,” Priyanka added.
Priyanka hails from Badharghat area, some 50 km from state capital Agartala and lives in a mud house with her mother, as her father remains outside most of the time driving private vehicles to earn his livelihood.
Her mother, Bhabani Barman Dasgupta, said that Priyanka is also a good student and she has secured good marks in pre-board exams. She will take her Class X board exams (matriculation) in March this year.
Coach Nandi said that they are trying hard to get one more Dipa Karmakar from the state. The government of Tripura, sports council and sports departments are giving all their support to make that happen. Around 140 students are currently getting trained at NSRCC.
“Gymnastics is very complicated and no other game can be compared with it. It is totally different and it works on science and calculative mathematics,” he said.
Talking about Priyanka, he said she got four gold medals at the recent Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati and it is indeed a great news for everyone. “If the sports authority provides her with some stipend, she might do even better,” he said.
“Her parents are very poor and she needs financial support from the government to continue with her performance. I would like to request the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to support Priyanka so that she can shine in the Olympics,” Nandi added.
The coach is currently training four gymnasts, including Dipa Karmakar, Priyanka Dasgupta, Ashmita Paul and Prathista Samanta for the Olympics 2024 in Paris.
Another coach, Soma Nandi, said Priyanka was worth watching the way she performed at Khelo India games. She deserved the victory because she had worked very hard for it. She trained for six to seven hours daily, Nandi said.
“She was just four years old when she first came here. After training her till the age of 12 years, the responsibility was given to Bisweshwar Nandi,” added Nandi.
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