New Delhi: Young Indian squash player Ravi Dixit has backtracked on a threat to sell his kidney to raise funds ahead of next month's South Asian Games, saying it was a 'spur of the moment' remark which was blown out of proportion.
Dixit said he was sorry about his "selling the kidney" comment and did not realise that a post on Facebook would attract so much attention.
"I did not realise there is so much to be read into this until I received a call from a reporter," said the 22-year-old, who is a former Asian junior champion and is part of the Indian team for next month's South Asian Games.
Squash player Ravi Dixit raised a storm by looking to auction his kidney on social media to raise funds. PIC COURTESY Ravi Dixit's Facebook page
Dixit, in a hand written letter to president of the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRF), said he would continue playing the game.
"Squash is my life and I wish to continue playing it. I am keen to pursue the game as my career and would continuously look for sponsors. I never intended to sell my kidney and it was a spur of the moment statement for which I am sorry. I apologise to my family and the people who have supported me," Dixit added.
India's top male Saurav Ghosal too was shocked at Dixit's comments.
"I have interacted with him many times and to be honest, I never thought the situation was so extreme (that he would think of selling his kidney). I have not spoken to him, I have only read his comments in the media. It is unfortunate if he thought to do something like that. I am sure there are better ways to fund your career," Ghosal told PTI.
SRFI chief Debendranath Sarangi, in a statement, said Dixit has been with the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) in Chennai for nine years and has been staying and training there.
"The ISA and SRFI provide him financial assistance for participation in the national/international tournaments, in addition to the funding from sports ministry and Dhampur Sugar Mills. He has also gone abroad for training," Sarangi said.
Ravi was reported to be offering the organ for sale on social media for an asking price of 800,000 rupees ($11,952.79) due to a lack of sponsors.
"I need at least Rs 1 lakh to participate in the South Asian Games but have not been able to find any sponsor," Dixit was quoted as saying by a leading newspaper on Tuesday.
"So, I have decided to sell my kidney for Rs 8 lakh so that I can participate in other tournaments as well for the rest of the year."
Dixit's threat to sell the organ, forbidden by Indian law, was also a cause of concern for his parents.
"I have spoken to Ravi. He is in Chennai right now but I spoke to him on the phone. His mother and I are imploring him not to take the step," Ravi's father, Ramkailash, was quoted as saying in the media.
"Together, we will figure out a way to deal with this crisis. This way, he will ruin both his life and career. "I funded my daughter's wedding with Ravi's winnings. Since he has to support the family as well, he cannot use much of what he gets for himself."
His father's employer, the Dhampur Sugar Mill, had provided financial assistance in the past but according to Dixit, the funds were no longer enough to support him.