India's sports heroes mustn't be left to suffer

Updated: Jul 17, 2020, 06:59 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Aniket Pote dipped into whatever little he had, including his cash prizes for kho kho, to treat his father for COVID-19

India kho-kho player Aniket Pote. Pic/Facebook
India kho-kho player Aniket Pote. Pic/Facebook

It was wrenching to read a report about a national Khotachiwadi kho kho player who has represented India in several tourneys, including overseas, and winner of several awards, dig into his savings for medical treatment for his family.

This youth, in his early twenties, dipped into whatever little he had, including his cash prizes for kho kho, to treat his father for COVID-19.

He comes from a modest family background, his mother is a housemaid. The player, who used to play kho kho representing certain banks, now has no source of income because of the pandemic. He has applied for a job in the sports quota, but has yet to get one.

It is important that he gets a job, given his circumstances and struggle. He himself has no hesitation using up his savings to treat his father, and contribute towards household expenses.

One hopes though that he can rustle up enough money to tide over this crisis. Employers of sports people, must step up,even though these are tough times, and help those who represent the country with so much pride and distinction.

We hear of so many hard luck stories of sportspeople in India, many of those who have worn the national colours in their playing days, now selling vegetables or peddling some other skill, or involved in a trade to survive.

Our sports federations and ministers must ensure nationals and internationals live a life of some material comfort and dignity.

When youngsters see our heroes struggle to eke out a living or get basics, they will be turned off sport and look for safer and surer avenues to secure their future.

This then, will keep India short of being a sporting power, as youngsters leave the talent pool, or stars cut short sporting careers to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

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