Looking at how well our Indian Para-Athletes have performed in Rio Olympics 2016, stories about governments showering accolades on them have been common news these days.
While government’s move to reward these deserving players is welcome news, the sad part is that there are still many older athletes across India who are neglected and living life in absolute poverty.
One such athlete is Kaushlendra Singh, who in 1981 won India three gold medals at the first International Abilympics in Tokyo and then a silver and a bronze medal at the 1982 Far East & South Pacific Games, Hong Kong.
Singh, who is paralysed below the waist, won the Abilympics gold medals when it still held sports contests for the disabled and not just craft related competitions like it does today.
Singh also won several medals at the national level but was never recognised much for his feats and now at the age of 51, lives on a meagre pension of Rs 300 a month.
He is forced to depend on his younger brother for his day to day needs and despite making numerous appeals for help, the state government has not taken his appeal up.
When Kaushlendra sees Paralympics medal winners getting so much recognition from the government, he feels dejected as for past 20 years he has been struggling even to get his pension.
The politicians have made many false promises to him and used his name for publicity. But despite all that, they have later forgotten about him.
“The country craves medals and if given a chance I can help young athletes in their quest for glory. But who will give me a chance, despite having proven myself at international level?” – Kaushlendra Singh