An earlier article on Youth Ki Awaaz on Buli Basumatary was fruitful in helping her get noticed by the government.
Another story of a lady who was once a Three Time National Champion in Athletics, and is now living in poverty, casts a shadow on the miserable life of thousands of sports persons in India.
The story of Lilawati Daimary from Baksa district of Assam is indeed a testimony to how any sport other than cricket is completely ignored by most of us.
She began training for Athletics in her own village without any professional trainer and her talent was spotted by the officials of the district sports association.
She was one of the most promising players during the 1970s as she started her journey in the field of athletics by representing her district in various inter-district championships held all over the state.
She managed to outperform everyone and it was not too long before her talent was noticed by the officials from the State Athletics Association.
She participated in the 12th National Athletics Championship in the year 1974 organized by the then Amateur Athletic Federation of India which is now called Athletics Federation of India (AFI) where she managed to win a gold medal in the javelin throw competition.
She continued her outstanding performances by winning another gold medal in the National Athletics Championships held in Hyderabad in the year 1975.
She won a hat trick of gold medals when she won a gold medal for the third time in the year 1976 in the National Athletics Championships in Kottayam.
Though she won many medals in different championships all over the country, she couldn’t carry forward her career in sports. She couldn’t get much help from the government either.
She says, “I had a dream to represent India in different International Championships and that dream seemed to be practical when I won three gold medals in three consecutive National Championships but later I realized that it is difficult to excel in sports in a country like India”.
When asked about whether she got any financial help from the government, she says,”Till today I did not get any financial help from the government and I feel it is futile to expect any help from the government”.
She is now an old lady living in poverty and she has to sometimes work as a daily wage labourer to sustain her family. She lives with her husband and a son.
Her story is indeed one among the thousands of talented sports persons who are leading a miserable life.
It is a sad reality of how difficult it is to excel in the field of sports when you come from an economically weaker background.
It should not be surprising for us to hear our parents saying not to take up sports as a career as it is very difficult to excel in the field of sports.
Unless the government takes steps to encourage sports persons by helping them, the stigma that it is very difficult to excel in sports will always deter talented sports persons from excelling in International Events.