City of joy – Kolkata, becomes India’s first city to get a multi-sports museum by the name Fanatic Sports Museum. This museum is spread over 6700 square feet and was inaugurated jointly by cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, Paralympics silver medalist Deepa Malik and Bronze medalist Devendra Jhajaria.
The museum located at Ecospace in New Town, Rajarhat, which is 25 km from Kolkata’s City Centre; was opened for public on Monday. The tickets are priced at Rs 100 and there will be a concession of 50% for students. Sports historian and journalist Boria Mazumdar told Hindustan Times, that entry for state-level sportsmen has been made complimentary. Most of Boria’s collection memorabilia will be displayed.
Speaking on the inauguration ceremony, Sachin Tendulkar said, “ I think we Indians are not active enough. We need to engage in sporting activity. Looking at various things of great sports personalities can serve as inspiration to young ones. This is not just for Kolkata, it is for India.” While Deepa Malik in her address said, “Seeing Paralympic sport at par with efforts of able-bodied sports persons is a big boost.” Abhinav Bindra said, “It looks and feels like the Olympics museum. This is a great initiative towards promoting the culture of sport.”
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The museum has a wide range of collection from the hand gloves that Sachin Tendulkar wore while scoring his 100th international century in Dhaka, a boot owned by Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, the Chelsea jersey of Didier Drogba, which he wore during his team’s 2012 Champions League triumph, a chess board signed by Indian chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, football legend Pele’s 1970 Brazil jersey and much more!
Many more collection include a book written by KS Ranjitsinhji way back in 1933 named ‘The Jubilee Book of Cricket’, which is an anthology on cricket in India and priced Rs 3,
Books written by KS Ranjitsinhji, an anthology on cricket in India named ‘The Jubilee Book of Cricket’, written by PN Polishwalla in 1933 and priced Rs 3, a souvenir marking football club Mohammedan Sporting’s five Calcutta League titles which they won from 1934-38 are all under one roof. Not only these, the collection also includes world’s fastest man Usain Bolt’s running shoes and the Truttmann gloves that was worn by Abhinav Bindra in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Boria Mazumdar told Hindustan Times, that the museum collection also includes a letter written on October 10, 1978 and signed by cricket legend Sir Don Bradman. Tennis lovers can take a look at the caps worn by Swiss master Roger Federer and Spaniard Rafael Nadal. On the other hand, badminton fans can take a look at the racquet used by shuttler Pullela Gopichand to train Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu.
Among Boria’s memorabilia, there is a letter written by Syed Mushtaq Ali to CK Nayudu that dates back to August 1, 1946. This letter is Mushtaq Ali complaining about Iftekhar Ali Khan Pataudi. Hockey fans will surely feel nostalgic as there are tickets of Olympics where India won gold in Men’s hockey barring 1928. Besides it also hosts a souvenir signed by Kapil’s Devils on the 25th anniversary of their 1983 World Cup win against West Indies.
Boria Mazumdar said that the museum has agreed on an exchange programme with Britain’s National Football Museum in England. A deal with the museum at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on which this has been modelled, is on the cards.