Former Indian badminton player and two-time Olympian Dipankar Bhattacharjee has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and admitted to a hospital in Mumbai.
Dipankar Bhattacharjee, 49, represented India at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games in Barcelona and Atlanta, respectively. A contemporary of All England champion Pullela Gopichand, Bhattacharjee is also a three-time national badminton champion.
At Barcelona 1992, when badminton was introduced to the Games, Bhattacharjee made it till the pre-quarterfinals where he was ousted by the then reigning world champion Zhao Jianhua of China.
The Indian shuttler, who was 20 at the time, had beaten Ivan Ivanov of Bulgaria in the first round and Hannes Fuchs of Austria in the second. Bhattacharjee also teamed up with Vimal Kumar for the men’s doubles but bowed out in the opening round.
After getting a bye in the first round of the men’s singles at Atlanta 1996, Bhattacharjee fell in the second, suffering an exit at the hands of another reigning world champion, Hariyanto Arbi of Indonesia.
Born in Guwahati, Bhattacharjee is the first sportsperson from Assam to compete at the Olympics and the only national badminton champion from the NorthEast. He retired in 2004.
In recent years, Bhattacharjee had been investing time in his badminton academy in Navi Mumbai where he had been coaching children intending to find “at least one Olympic medallist” among his wards.
“I just want to do my part, in whatever best I can do, with whatever knowledge and expertise that I have that I want to share with and give back to the next generation,” Bhattacharjee had told PTI.
Bhattacharjee will undergo surgery on Thursday at the Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai.