Boxer Gaurav Bidhuri on sports ministry ignoring his achievement: It's embarrassing

Nov 10, 2017, 11:38 IST | Noel D'Souza

World Boxing C'ships bronze medallist Bidhuri slams sports ministry for neglecting his achievement, says he's been treated like a state winner

World Boxing C'ships bronze medallist Bidhuri slams sports ministry for neglecting his achievement, says he's been treated like a state winner

He became the fourth Indian boxer to win a bronze medal at the World Boxing Championships on August 31 in Hamburg, Germany this year, but the historic feat still won't cheer up New Delhi-born Gaurav Bidhuri. He is now the latest case of an athlete's prowess being neglected by the government and sports authorities. "It's been over two months since I have won the bronze medal and there has been absolutely no recognition from the Sports Minister or chief minister. I did not get any prize money as well. I am ashamed and totally disappointed," Bidhuri, who settled for bronze in the bantamweight category (56kg) after losing to USA's Duke Ragan in Germany, told mid-day yesterday.

A file picture of India's Gaurav Bidhuri (left) battling Uzbek's Zoirov Shakhobidin in 2014. Pic/AFP
A file picture of India's Gaurav Bidhuri (left) battling Uzbek's Zoirov Shakhobidin in 2014. Pic/AFP

'Totally devastated'
After arriving at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on September 3, Bidhuri was devastated to see just a handful of officials from the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). "My dad spent from his pocket for the welcome at the airport and organised parties as well," he said. Bidhuri, 24, went running helter skelter to gain access to top politicians in a bid to be recognised and earn some funds and rewards. Lately, he has even been travelling with his bronze medal around Delhi to show his achievement, but all his efforts have failed to see the light of day. "It's very embarrassing to be treated like this. I approached the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. He said that we don't have any sports policy. The Sports Minister as well did not say anything on it. From the way I've been treated, it looks like I've won a state or a national medal," he explained.

The Indian grabbed the opportunity to make his plea to Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore on social media as well. After India boxer MC Mary Kom bagged a fifth gold medal at the Asian Championships on Wednesday, Rathore immediately tweeted: "What a heroic performance & what a comeback! CONGRATS @MangteC for FIFTH Gold! Keep the tricolor flying high, champion! Bhiduri wrote back: "Respected sir. I appreciate that you honour our athletes who win medal for the country. I am Gaurav Bidhuri, won bronze at World Boxing Championships in Sept 2017. But until now no one came up to support me, felicitate me or to honour me. Sir, I wish to meet you once. Thank you."
"Mary didi won and the Sports Minister congratulated her. When cricketers or other sportsmen do well, our sports ministry and government honour them, then why not me? Why discriminate according to the sport? We work hard and shed our blood to win medals for the country.

"I just expect that we are valued by our government in return. People only follow glamour movie heroes. What about us sportsmen who are making our country proud?" he asked.

Eye on Olympic medal
But Bidhuri is not one who will fade away into oblivion. "It was my father's dream to win a medal at the Olympics, but due to a family problem, he left boxing. "So now I am aiming for an Olympic medal. The Commonwealth Games begin in the first week of April next year. If I win a medal there, I may get recognised," Bidhuri, a senior Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) at Agra Cant station, signed off.

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