The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tumpa laments exposure dearth

Calcutta: The Indian womenís team for the 37th world gymnastics championships, to be held in Anaheim (US), is packed with faces from Bengal. Of the six selected, there is the state trio of Rupali Haldar, Jhuma Bag and Amrita Sinha. The team also includes Tumpa Debnath and Sundari Mandal, who hail from Bengal but represent Andhra Pradesh and Railways, respectively. Rohika of Punjab completes the squad.

The gymnasts, selected Thursday after a camp at the SAI Eastern Centre, will move to Patiala for another training stint from July 18 before leaving for the August 16-24 meet in the US. Joy Prakash Chakraborty is the coach.

Tumpa, the undisputed national champion over the past few years, has the experience of representing the country at the world championships in Belgium (2001) and China (1999). She didnít have any qualms admitting that even hoping for a medal would be bigger than day-dreaming.

ďWe donít even think of it. We hardly have any knowledge of how gymnasts from other countries are performing right now, since we get to see them only during the world championships, after gaps of a few years,Ē said Tumpa Friday.

ďApart from lagging behind in training techniques and practising with sophisticated equipment, we lack exposure,Ē said the gymnast. India, for the record, didnít send a gymnastics team at the Asian Games in Busan last year.

On the personal front, however, the 18-year-old from Nabadwip is nurturing small hopes. ďI came 186th in í99 and moved to 124th two years later. Letís see how far I can go up this time. Itís difficult to focus on anything, since I just donít know what kind of competition Iíll face.Ē

Tumpa, who bagged all five gold medals on offer at the senior nationals earlier this year, is facing a dilemma on another front. Having turned out for Andhra in the National Games after being promised big cash rewards for every medal won, she has also been offered a job by South Central Railway.

ďI donít know whether Iíll finally accept this offer. Staying there, trainingÖ I donít know how Iíll manage that all by myself. Itíll be better if I get a job here. Talks are on, something may work out soon,Ē she said.

Tumpa informed she is yet to receive any money from Andhra Pradesh, as was promised to her. The amount, according to her, is close to Rs 13 lakh.

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