If you look at some of India’s medalists in these Asian Games, you will see a fair few of them come from deprived backgrounds:
NEERAJ CHOPRA, Men’s Javelin Throw, Gold
Neeraj Chopra became a household name in India after his sensational performances in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in Jakarta but few would know about his struggles. Neeraj, 20, had to leave his home at the age of 14 to practice. “I left home when I was 14, owing to lack of facilities. My formal education was disturbed after class 9. My dream is that villagers need not shift to a city the way I shifted to Panchkula. Athletes from Haryana are winning at the national, international and Olympics level but my village still does not have a playground. Whenever I stay there, I need to practice on a road. If we are to become an Olympian nation, every village should have a stadium and get coaches from the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, where I now train,” Neeraj had once told the Hindustan Times.
SWAPNA BARMAN, Women Heptathlon, Gold
Unlike Neeraj, Swapna Barman did not have to leave her home to persue her career or practice but her financial struggles did not make her life any easier. Born in a below poverty line family, Swapna’s father was a van-puller but he lost his livelihood after he suffered a cerebral attack and it was difficult for Swapna’s mother, who worked as a daily labourer at the tea gardens, to make ends meet. But, after her fantastic performance in Jakarta, things are looking slightly better for her as the state government has announced monitory rearwards to aid her. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called up Swapna’s mother and congratulated her. She also announced a cash award of Rs 10 lakhs apart from an executive post in the government for the gutsy athlete.
Apart from the state government, the BJP is also planning to honour Swapna once she returns home.
HIMA DAS, Women’s 4x400m relay, Gold and Mixed 4x400m relay, 400m, Silver
Hima Das, a farmer’s daughter, grew up in a village in Assam, rose from humble beginnings to create history in Finland last month. In August, Hima Das won silver in the women’s 400m and gold in the 4x400m relay – that was India’s fifth straight gold in the event. There was no running track in Hima’s village and she had to train on a muddy football field. However, despite the lack of facilities, Hima won bronze in the state meet and reached the 100m final at the junior nationals in 2016, marking the beginning of a great journey.
VISMAYA VELLUVA KOROTH, Women’s 4x400m relay, Gold
The daughter of a construction labourer, Vismaya Velluva Koroth, was pivotal to India’s triumph in the 4x400m relay. She was the last runner and was up against Salwa Eid Naser – in her first international race, Vismaya pipped the Asian sprint queen and ensured India finished with their fifth straight gold medal in the event.
ARPINDER SINGH, Men’s Triple Jump, Gold
Another gold medalist in Arpinder Singh, also had to go through a lot to train and work on his game.
“Arpinder has won 14 nationals gold medals while playing for Punjab. When he won the bronze in CWG in 2014, he hoped to get a DSP post or a Category A job. Haryana offered a higher cash reward to participating players and here in Punjab, he got Rs 6 lakh. As a retired havildar from Army, I get a pension of Rs 12,000. We mortgaged our gold jewellery to make Arpinder train. When he chose to play for Haryana, it was heart-breaking for us. It was a different feeling when he played for the state where he was born and won medals, getting reward and recognition,” Arpinder’s 63-year-old father Jagbir Singh told Indian Express.
DHARUN AYYASAMY, 400m hurdles, Men’s 4x400m relay, Silver
Dharun Ayyasamy, who won silver in men’s 400m hurdles, hopes that his silver medal will provide him some recognition and financial support, so that he can support his stoic mother, who single handedly took care of him after his father’s death. Dharun’s father passed away when he was eight years old and since then, his mother, who earns Rs 14,000 per month as a teacher, has been doing everything possible to help Dharun succeed in his field of choice.
SUDHA SINGH, Women’s 3000m steeplechase, Silver
Sudha Singh, who is an Arjuna Award winner as well as a silver medalist in steeplechase at this year’s Asian Games, had to deal with financial problems but her love for the sport and immense support from her family has helped her reach where she is now.
Their success at the Asian Games in Jakarta doesn’t mean future success as well but one could hope that their humble background and difficulties won’t let them bask in the success and they will be back again to excel further and bring more laurels for their country.
Source : https://www.indiatoday.in/sports/asian-games-2018/story/don-t-be-shocked-it-is-the-poor-who-win-you-the-medals-1328663-2018-08-31