?TT talent aplenty, no killer instinct? - ABA let down Dipankar: Monalisa

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 14.12.05

Guwahati, Dec. 14: Arjuna awardee and former 12-time state champion Monalisa Baruah Mehta today said despite there being enough talented players in Assam, the state did not have the psychological edge.

?I was observing the Assam paddlers at the junior nationals in Shillong. The state is brimming with talent but the players need proper grooming, both physical and mental. The likes of Sanjana Sarma, Pallabi Parasar, Kakoli Lahkar and Anal Kashyap are extremely talented. But they need good coaching and practice facilities and exposure,? she said. ?Their attitude is too negative. They need psychological counselling like we had when we represented Assam.?

Replying to a query about why no other Assam sportsperson had received the Arjuna since she won it in 1987, Monalisa held the Assam Badminton Association responsible for Dipankar Bhattacharjee, two-time Olympian from Assam, not being considered for the Arjuna Award.

The second sportsperson and the only woman from the state to have received India?s highest sports honour said she sympathised with Bhattacharjee, the only Indian shuttler to have played twice in the Olympics (1992 and 1996). Bhattacharjee, three times national champion (1994, 1995 and 1996), is the only other Olympian from Assam, besides footballer T. Ao.

?No doubt Dipankar deserved the Arjuna. But he was deprived, perhaps because of inadequate support from the state badminton organisation that should have moved the government at the right time and should have put up a fight when he was overlooked,? the former paddler, who led the Indian women?s table tennis team at Asian Games, said. ?It is too late now. Things have become too competitive to fight for his cause. The right time was when he was performing,? she added.

Monalisa volunteered to collaborate with the Assam Table Tennis Association. ?My husband (Kamlesh Mehta) and I are always ready to help Assam, indeed all Northeast, if all states unite together for coaching purpose. Such a venture could definitely yield good results,? the OIL executive, who runs a coaching academy in Mumbai, said.