PT Usha, once the golden girl of Indian track, nations’ pride, once a Padmashri, once a recipient of Arjuna Award, but more than once insulted, humiliated by her own countrymen.
Just the latest, the sprint queen was reduced to tears in Bhopal at the National Open Athletics Championship, after the organizers failed to give her and her athletes a decent accommodation for the stay. Aptly she said “If I get this type of treatment, you can imagine what other athletes get. That is why parents are not encouraging their children to go in for sports and that is why we are not getting any medals at international levels. I feel insulted.”
The last time I remember was when the country conveniently forgot to include her as one of the torch bearer for Olympics 2004, Athens, instead Bipasha Basus, Viveik Oberois were seen running with it. The irony of Indian sport is the ‘use and abuse theory’. It’s not surprising then, that Indian sport barring a few, is nowhere in the international scenario.
Another much recent incident which I remember now what happened with Renu Gora, three time Boxer champion, bronze medalist in World Boxing Championship 2006, who is still jobless, was seen serving tea to the media and other officials in NIS, Patiala. The other girls who get training there were also meant to be washing utensils and obeying the orders of these shameless officials. Now c’mon Renu you are a boxer..show them you are. Will someday Vijendra Singh salvage them from such conditions? Hmm, just a bleary hope.
Another shameful incident when a national level athlete was forced to become a prostitute thanks to all the miseries which led her to poverty,…still remains in jail for not having money to pay for bail.
Such similar incidents must be endless, thousands unheard, living in obscurity in their meagre pension in some stenchy rat-hole of the society. Will there be a saviour someday, a desi superhero for the Indian sport (cricket excluded)? Cricketers these days, after retirement make more money by commentating than what they earned otherwise. Can there be more of Dr. Vijay Mallyas’ to not only encourage new sporting avenues but also to uplift the existing, degenerating ones?
I pray for such a day. Till then, Chak De India!!! We live in hope.