Rahul Banerjee to get Arjuna award

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rahul Banerjee`s name was recommended for the Arjuna Award on Friday.

Kolkata: It was celebration time for Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rahul Banerjee and his family after the archer`s name was recommended for the Arjuna Award on Friday.

Rahul, whose elder sister and former world champion archer Dola Banerjee received the honour in 2005, said his parents were the happiest to get the news.

"My parents (Ashok and Kalpana Banerjee) were the happiest. The cabinet will look complete now – with Didi and my Arjuna awards together. They are indeed the proud parents," Rahul said.

"The best congratulatory message came from my parents... It`s really an emotional moment for us. A time to celebrate," he added.

Rahul, who was expecting the award last year itself, said he was confident of getting the honour this time around.

"I was in the list of nominees but missed out last year. But I was very confident of getting the award this time around, especially after clinching a gold in the Commonwealth Games 2010," Banerjee said.

The recurve archer, who also clinched a bronze in company of Jayanta Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai at the Delhi Games, gave credit of his success to his Olympian sister Dola.

"It`s really a matter of immense satisfaction. I`m here because of Didi. You may say, that it`s always an advantage to have her as my first coach. So whatever I`ve achieved so far, full credit goes to Didi. She is really happy for me," an emotional Rahul said.

Rahul also thanked Tata Archery Academy and Korea coach Lim Chae Woong under whom he blossomed as an international archer.

"Tata and the Korean coach are my other two influences," he said.

Rahul, however, felt his best is still yet to come.

The Indian archer had some heartbreak at the World Championships in Italy where he along with Tarundeep Rai missed the Olympic cut by one point, even as his third partner Jayanta Talukdar earned the berth by means of finishing fifth in the qualification round.

But Rahul said that he was confident of securing a berth.

"All is not lost (in Turin). Surely it was disappointing to lose by a point. It was our poor luck. But I am 100 per cent confident it to the London Olympics.”

"There is a tournament in Ogden next year where three teams will earn the remaining quota places. In fact, that will give us an advantage to carry the form into London 2012 also," Rahul said.

Rahul is now concentrating on the Asian Championships to be held in Teheran where the all the Korean heavyweights will also take part.

"That will give an ideal preparation for the Olympics, which will remain the main goal."


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