With just six participants in fray from Assam representing India in the ongoing Asian Games at Jakarta in Indonesia, Joydip Das, a resident of Silchar in Cachar district of Assam, and a bronze medal winner at Seoul Asiad in 1986 representing our nation at the shooting arena, rue lack of sufficient sports persons coming up in this State and making an entry into big league of competitive sports worldwide.
Just like Hima Das of Dhing under Nagoan district of Assam, Joydip Das took to this sport only after training of just over a month by the end of 1979, to become a national junior champion in shooting with .22 rifle in 1980, aged 20 years.
He repeated the feat again in 1981, thanks to his joining the Indian Navy in December month of 1976 at Vishakapatnam and taking into this sport by trying his luck and acumen in Indian Naval Annual Musketry Championship, three years later, in 1979.
Though, he started off with football as his passion when he was serving with the Indian Navy in INS Talwar, a close confidante’s suggestion of him trying his hands at shooting for he was a good marksman, took him to the shooting arena, and rest as they say is history.
After his conquests of being a national junior champion in 1980 and 1981, his call to join the shooting squad of the Asiad team of 1982 that was held in Delhi was evident.
Speaking to Northeast Now, Joydip Das, who is born and brought up till his college days in Haflong, now Dima Hasao district in Assam, says, “I was privileged to get the training sessions done being in the Indian Navy. I was a good shooter as a part of my daily drill, but, some well wishers’ suggestions took me to compete with the best in this sport.”
His tryst of not achieving a medal in 1982 Asiad in Delhi made Joydip Das hungrier to achieve higher. In 1984-85 season, Joydip Das scored a score of 595 points out of 600 which earned him a national record in his discipline of .22 rifle called ‘prone’ match.
“The call to join the shooting squad for the Seoul Asian Games made me more focused. Eventually competing against the best shooters in Asia, a bronze medal if not more, was nothing less to push me harder,” said, Joydip Das.
With one international medal in the kitty, he added, “I took part in Minsk International Shooting held in erstwhile USSR in 1989, Commonwealth Games in New Zealand in 1990 and finished my shooting career with a silver medal at South Asian Federation (SAF) Games at Colombo in 1991.”
When our correspondent caught hold of Joydip Das at his residence watching the ongoing Asian Games at Jakarta, he lamented, “out of a contingent of 311 men and 260 female athletes participating this year in Jakarta, Assam just has six athletes in the contingent. Everyone questions that Assam lacks infrastructure, but as our present Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal who was at one point of time a Union Sports Minister in Narendra Modi’s ministry, said crassly of given results to get more, makes sense. If Hima Das for her dedication, devotion and determination could make a place from running in a nondescript sporting fields of Dhing to be the star of India right now, other sports persons from Assam should also have the same zeal to make it big one day.”
As for now in his retired life, Joydip Das is making plans to help and nurture talents in the shooting arena in Assam, albeit, all help comes from all quarters.