Young athletes from India who have achieved International acclaims and won medals for India are standing on the verge of retiring from professional sports due to lack of training and support in the last few months.
Many Indian athletes come from humble background, they have not been able to resume training and the total shutdown in sports activities across the country has made it even harder.
According to a The Indian Express report, some potential national champions have resorted to selling fruits while others are contemplating quitting their dreams as getting a three course meal has been difficult.
19-year-old Meraj Ali from Delhi is a talented 1,500 m racer but the economic distress in the Covid-19 scenario has seen his elder brother, who was a driver for an app based cab firm, lose his job. Ali's father is a daily wage labourer and unable to support his family of six with his meagre income.
"My father had to get a kidney removed last December. He needs rest but has to work to feed us. If things don’t improve, I will have to join him and that would be the end of my athletics dream… We have stopped having tea at home, even milk is a luxury we can't afford," he was quoted as saying The Indian Express.
Thabitha Philip Maheswaran, a gold medallist long jumper from Chennai, is also suffering from a similar fate. Her father is an autorickshaw driver who had no work during the lockdown months. Although she is supported by an NGO, the funds have come down drastically.
Ali Ansari, a bronze medal winner at 2019 Asian Youth Athletics Championships, has already taken over his father's fruit cart. As he is the eldest child of his family, he has had to take over the responsibility and he fears that he will end up becoming a fruit seller if things continue the same way.