Bridge player Rajeev Khandelwal, who was part of the Indian mixed team that clinched a bronze medal in the Asian Games, believes that the success will help change perception about the sport. “I think, the first major thing is that it (the medals) is going to change the perception of people. Because people thought bridge is a card game and card is taboo in India and most people were not allowed to play bridge,” Khandelwal told reporters here.
He along with his wife Himani Khandelwal and Hema Deora, who were also part of the mixed team that won bronze, were felicitated by the Bombay Gymkhana here. “We wanted to train people but we cant, because their parents would say ‘taash khelene laagega beta, yeh koi game hai kya’ (child will stat playing cards, is this a game).
“Nobody understands that it is an intelligence game rather than gambling. Everybody associates Bridge with gambling, but because of medals that we have got, things will change and people will start recognising it as a sport, rather than a gambling thing,” added Khandelwal.
India returned from the Asian Games with a gold and two bronze medals in bridge, after the sport was for the first time introduced in the continental showpiece.
Echoing similar views, Deora said bridge was more like a mind sport. “After acquiring these medals (at the Games) and after Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) also having tweeted about it, it has become aware that it (bridge) is not a gambling sport, but a mind sport and it’s like chess.
“So people are becoming more aware and realising importance of this game and I am sure it will be picked up much faster and better,” said Deora.
The trio was presented with mementos for their feat.