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Joydeep hit by cash crunch

New Delhi: Worrying about logistics three months before the start of Olympics is hardly the ideal preparation for an athlete, but Joydeep Karmakar is going through the same.

The Calcutta-based shooter, who would be representing India in the 50-metre prone, is hugely worried as he is yet to receive any financial assistance from the government for his London preparations. As per the sports ministry policy, all sportspersons, who have qualified for the Olympics, are eligible to receive grant under National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) but no money has been sanctioned to Karmakar yet.

“I had sent a proposal to sanction me around Rs 50 lakh under NSDF, but I am yet to hear anything from the sports ministry,” Karmakar told The Telegraph on Saturday on the sidelines of a function organised by the Mittal Champions Trust (MCT).

“MCT is backing me to a great extent but I can’t expect them to pay for everything,” said the shooter.

“Had I received the money from government, it would have been easier for me to arrange for my foreign travel, pay for coaches and ammunition. Arranging cash is my biggest worry these days.”

Karmakar had just returned from London, where he went to buy ammunition and would return to England in the second week of April to take part in the World Cup. Two more World Cups would be held in Italy and Germany before the Olympics though the Calcutta boy is not sure whether he would take part in the Munich meet.

But then, Karmakar is not the only shooter, who is awaiting financial assistance from the government. Pistol girl Heena Sidhu said she sent a proposal for around Rs one crore, but is yet to hear anything from the government.

“We came to know that only four of the 11 shooters have received money from the government so far. They had submitted their budget in January and we did it in February,” she said.

The four shooters, who have already received NSDF assistance, are Abhinav Bindra, Manavjit Singh, Ronjan Sodhi and Shagun Chaudhary.

NRAI secretary-general Rajiv Bhatia, however, said the sanction of funds has been delayed because Karmakar and Heena were late entrants to the national squad for the Olympics.

“The squad was announced on February 19 and they were the new faces in the squad. Their proposal went only in March and it is still being processed and will be passed next week,” said Bhatia.