Kho-kho champion Aniket Pote's prize money, Fixed Deposits gone in treating dad for COVID-19

Updated: Jul 16, 2020, 07:47 IST | Subodh Mayure | Mumbai

Aniket Pote's BEST driver father was at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic, ferrying emergency workers till he tested positive on June 6

Aniket with his father
Aniket with his father

Aniket Pote is one of the best diving tacklers in the Indian kho-kho team, but today, his finances have nosedived. Aniket, 23, player of the tournament in India's 2016 Asian Kho-Kho Championship-winning team, has spent all his prize money on his family in the lockdown.

Aniket Pote's father, Bhagwan, 56, is employed as a driver with BEST, and was on emergency duty since March, ferrying doctors, nurses and policemen between Bandra Reclamation and Tata Colony in Bharat Nagar, Bandra (East) on Route 215.

However, on June 6, Pote Sr contracted the virus and had to be hospitalised.

Dossier

“It has been a tough time, physically, mentally and financially for us but Aniket gave me confidence. For my treatment, he broke one of his fixed deposits of R1 lakh from the money he received when he won the Shiv Chhatrapati award [in 2018]. Before that, he had to break a FD of the same amount to pay the annual rent of R120, 000 [R10,000 per month] for our home [a small room in the Nirmal Nagar slums of Khar East]. Currently, I have recovered from Coronavirus but our financial struggles are far from over,” Bhagwan told mid-day on Wednesday.

Family to feed

Aniket, who has also represented India in a series against England besides having played five Senior Nationals and four Federation Cups, lives in the one-room tenement with his mother Chaya, 46, who works as a housemaid, elder brother Rupesh, 27, a driver with a private company and younger brother Swapnil, 21, an office boy with a private firm.

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

Aniket received R51,000 as player of the tournament when India beat Bangladesh in the 2016 Asian Kho-Kho Championship final in Indore. Later that year, the Maharashtra government felicitated him and presented him a cash award of R7 lakh. “It's my duty to take care of my parents and family so I had no hesitation in spending all my prize money. I know how hard my father and mother have worked for us,” said Aniket, who currently has no source of income even as his father is down with a throat infection.

“My father is currently suffering from a throat infection which needs urgent treatment. I used to play kho-kho for a bank on a contractual basis but that has stopped since the lockdown. Previously, I have applied to the Western Railway as well as the Maharashtra government for a job in the sports quota but I haven't heard from them. I desperately need one to help my family survive,” added Aniket, a final year Bachelor of Arts student at Bandra's Rizvi College.

Deserving of job

Aniket Pote (centre) with mum Chaya and dad Bhagwan at their residence in Khar
Aniket Pote (centre) with mum Chaya and dad Bhagwan at their residence in Khar

Aniket's coach Narendra Kunder said the boy is one of India's best players. “Aniket deserves a government job on his sporting merit but unfortunately, we do not know any top politician or minister who can help him. Besides playing for India, he has represented Maharashtra in 19 national-level tournaments. He is a disciplined and dedicated sportsman and it's his on-court fighting spirit that is helping him survive poverty off the field,” Kunder said.

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