There are several talented sports persons that brought back many medals to India. Yet many of them have perished away, far from the limelight, with no recognition, accolades or credit whatsoever. Here’s a look at five important sports talent India neglected.
Asha Roy, India’s fastest runner who quit the track
She is the fastest Indian on track, yet most Indians are unaware of her. India's fastest runner today struggles to eat three square meals a day. In 2011, she set a record at the National Open Athletics Championship in Kolkatta.
She is the daughter of a vegetable seller hailing from a small village in West Bengal. Inspite of her impoverished background, she made it to the top.
Yet with no support, training and struggling for even basic necessities like food, the fastest runner remains defeated by our country.
Kamal Kumar, former boxer now a garbage collector
Kamal Kumar Valmiki has won three State level Gold medals in boxing. Today, he's collecting garbage on the streets.
He wanted a coaching job at a state level academy. But lack of funds forced him to take to the streets, literally. Today he's supporting his four kids, and the medals are stashed away. Perhaps of little value to him, not more than the trash he picks up off the streets, that actually supports his family.
Rashmita Patra, football player selling betelnut paan
An international football player now sells betelnut paan in her village.
This footballer from Orrissa represented India in Malaysia, Bahrain and Bangladesh at international championships. Yet poverty forced her to quit football. She married a traditional fisherman and now runs a betelnut shop to fend for her baby back in her village.
Nisha Rani Dutta, archery champ sold her bow after house collapse
This former archery champ had represented India in Bangkok, Taiwan and brought home many medals. Yet tragedy struck when her house collapsed in a deluge. She was then forced to sell her archery bow for 50,000 Rs.
Her trainer had gifted her the bow which was worth about Rs. 4 lakh.
With no financial or logistical support, she eventually quit the sport.
Murlikant Petkar - India's first gold medalist in the Paralympics forgotten
Not even the Paralympics Committee recognises him, but Petkar is the first Indian to win an individual gold medal in either Paralympics or Olympics.
Very few are aware of his achievements in swimming, javelin throw and precision javelin throw disciplines back in Germany in 1972.
Petkar was really a multi-faceted sportsperson. A boxer before he suffered permanent disabilities in the India-Pakistan war in 1965, the soldier from Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (EME) unit of Indian Army switched to swimming, athletics, table tennis and slalom after sustaining severe bullet injuries during combat.
Yet he fails to get his due recognition till date.
How many more sports talent can we afford to lose?
We wait until the last sportsperson gives up, the last gold medallist disappears into oblivion. We have waited for our sports talent to wither away. It’s time we begin to give every sport, and all deserving sports persons their due credit, recognition and support.
It’s about time.
Alarm Bajne Se Pehle #JaagoRe!
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