Upset over his alleged ill treatment by West Bengal Sports Ministry, bronze medalist Prasanta Karmakar on Wednesday said he is "ashamed" to be called a Bengali swimmer.
Karmakar, who created history on Wednesday by bagging country's first medal in swimming, said he was given "step-motherly" treatment by the sports ministry of the state he hails from.
He said his silver medal at the Asian championship in 2006 was ignored by the Bengal sports department and as a result, the swimmer, who lost his right palm in a road accident, shifted base to Haryana.
"I showed my Asian silver medal to the then sports minister Subhas Chakraborty. We were made to wait for hours to meet him. They just said 'khub bhalo' (good achievement). But nobody came forward to support me despite my several requests," Karmakar told PTI.
He added, "After the step-motherly treatment, I am ashamed to be called a Bengali swimmer. I am proud to represent Haryana who have supported me all the way along."
Asked if given a fresh offer, would be go back to Bengal, the Kolkata swimmer, who is the Asian No 3 in S-9 category, said, "Never."
"There is no job for us (para-sport athletes). Hope this medal of mine will get jobs for everyone," he said flashing his bronze medal.
After moving to Haryana, Karmakar got trained under two of India's best swimming coaches Virdhawal Khade and Sandeep Sejwal at the K C Reddy Swimming Centre in Bangalore.
"It's all because of them in Bangalore, I could achieve this. They keep guiding me alway and I am improving my timing gradually," he said.
Karmakar lost his palm after a freak mishap when he was seven years old.
In recent times, he has bagged got a bronze at the IPC World Championships in Germany and broke three Asian records in 50m backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.