It’s a sad when an athlete is being forced to give up her sport, because of lack of funds and support from political and sport authorities. National level shooter Himani Bharadwaj is being forced to think of giving up shooting, having her rifle taken back by the bank and even contemplated suicide, all because of a financial crunch.
Himani is from Aligarh and was placed 8th in the Nationals and won gold medals in state championships without even owning a rifle or being able to afford proper practice. She has met UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, BJP Aligarh MP Satish Gautam, and other central ministers as well as rifle association officials but got no help. Himani who has qualified for World Cups abroad, has no money to participate in the events. Her father is handicapped and sells betel leaves.
This tale comes from a state which recently saw a national-level squash player forced to sell his kidney to raise funds to sustain his career. It comes at a time when a fiery debate has erupted over decisions of renaming Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan to Khelo India and the appointment of Salman Khan as goodwill ambassador for the Rio Olympics. These decisions, many say do not really impact the life and routine of athletes on ground. Perhaps, it’s time for sport authorities and politicians to look at sport in India from a micro rather than a macro perspective.