Strange are the ways of Indians. Cricket is such a mega-sport now that it is possibly the only sport we have. Not that we don’t excel in others, it’s just that those athletes just don’t get the credit they deserve and end up poor and homeless. Here’s but a few who are currently neglected because of the “Indian” stigma:
1. Asha Roy – India’s fastest woman goes hungry.
She won a Silver at the National Open Athletics Championship and 100m Gold at the Indo-Bangla International meet in 2009.
Is among the fastest Indians of all time and…barely gets two square meals a day.
2. Sita Sahu – the medal-winning golgappa seller
Sita Sahu and her family of six are barely getting by, in spite of having Bronze in the 200 and 1600 meter races.
The 17-year-old Olympian is now forced to sell Golgappa for a living, trying to support her family who survives on less than Rs.180 a day.
3. Shanti Devi – Kabaddi player turned vegetable seller.
Our Kabaddi team has always been the best in the world; however, the players live in a dismal state.
Shanti Devi, who won the Silver Medal in the Guwahati National Kabaddi League, is now selling vegetables in Jamshedpur to take care of her four children.
4. S Santhi – the banned Silver medalist.
S Santhi has won a silver medal at the Doha Asian Games, and yet her life is all about moving from day to day in uncertainty.
Santhi failed a gender test after a women’s 800-meter event and was banned thereafter. Reports say she’s still looking for a job.
5. Nisha Rani Dutt
Few have achieved what Nisha has, and yet she struggled to put food on the table. Best archer in Taiwan, receiving the best player award in Sikkim and winning silver at the South Asian Championship are a few of her accomplishments.
Nisha (23 years of age) was forced to quit the sport to help take care of her family.
6. Nauri Mundu – who made a wise choice.
Even the National Sport carries no value in our country. Nauri Mundu, who’s won Bronze in Nehru Girls Hockey Tournament in 1996, Silver in the National Senior Games Championship in 1997 and has represented the National Team on 19 occasions.
Mundu had to give up her passion of Hockey to become a teacher because even teaching has a higher chance of keeping her alive.
7. Rashmita Patra
Rashmita Patra represented India in the Asian Football Confederation for the under-16 tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 and has even helped Odisha win the under-19 National Women’s Football.
But her family was struck by poverty, which made her give up the sport. She married a local fisherman and now runs a betel nut shop.
Quite frankly, the state of sports and especially women athletes is appalling in India and hopefully the Government will realize what invaluable assets these passionate people are and help them live in dignity.