New Delhi: Elated at being recommended for the prestigious Dronacharya award for his contribution to the Table Tennis, national coach Bhawani Mukherjee feels the recognition will help in lifting the profile of the sport in the country.

"It is not only about an individual. The recognition will help Table Tennis become more popular among the masses. It will highlight the achievements of the Indian paddlers. It is for the country first and at last it is for me," Mukherjee told media.

Mukherjee, however, conceded that it would have been a heartbreak, if his name wouldn't have been considered for the award this time around.

"To be honest, I was waiting for this day since a few years now. Probably, there were better performers than me and= that is why my name was not considered earlier. It would have been a bit disappointing if my name was not considered this time also.
"But in all this I have realised one thing, that if you do your work with sincerity and dedication your contribution will certainly be recognised one day," he insisted.

Mukherjee has been associated with the game as a coach since 1978 and has closely witnessed the rise of the likes Achanta Sharath Kamal. He also has a big role in the ascent of the current crop of juniors.

"A lot has changed. Earlier, the players didn't got much exposure, funding was less but now the government has opened up its coffers. The current crop is getting benefited out of all this and the country has begun to make some success."

"Our boys won the Commonwealth Games gold in 2004 in Kuala Lumpur. We were equally good in the Commonwealth Youth Games at Pune in 2008. Our juniors also did well in the Asian Championships. So the results have started to come but we need to move ahead with proper planning," Mukherjee pointed.

The veteran added that we need to plan for the 2016 Olympics right from on Friday.

"Our focus should be on the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympics. We must work out how we should approach ahead and what all needs to be done. A review should be held after every six months to see our progress," he said.

Mukherjee said that the youngsters like Somyajit Ghosh, Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan and Ankita Das were doing well but insisted their growth needs to constantly monitored.
"The likes of Harmeet, Ghosh and Sathiyan are doing well but we will have to consistently keep a tab on their rankings.

Seniors are also welcome, if they are able to maintain themselves for the next few years that will always be helpful for the country," Mukherjee said.

Asked about the hiring of foreign coaches, Mukherjee said he was more keen in seeing them come for a short duration and go back.

"We had Leszek Kucharski with us till the Olympics but the players with not happy with him. We have the coaches in India who are very good. Kamlesh (Mehta) for instance has been doing a great job. Foreign coaches should be engaged for short camps of three-weeks.

They can come train our players and coaches and go. If they are good we can invite them for another stint and they are not worth we can look for better options," Mukherjee said.


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