New Delhi, Nov 8 :The glittering trophies adorn the shelves at home, where plasters have peeled off, walls have developed cracks and there is no space left in the room at all for new trophies, said 15-year-old Vanshika Bhargava, who currently holds the top-60 spot in world Junior Table Tennis ranking and dreams of buying her first home in future.
The Table Tennis player who has been bestowed Award from the former President Pranab Mukherjee has also clinched gold medal in Saff championship in 2016 and also secured silver in the singles event.
She has won medals from school level to World cadet level tournaments.
"In 2015, I was the only player who was chosen by the federation to join a camp in China. World Cadet Challenge Tournament was scheduled after the camp. But, due to financial problem I could not make it to China", she said.
"Our business is finished, we have been suffering financially for a long time. She has not joined any camp this year because of financial reason," Anita Bhargava (41), mother of Vanshika said, adding that we have tried our best to keep Vanshika play TT, but now, things have become tougher.
Remembering some tournaments the teenager said, "This year, I missed CBSE National, in recent times, I have missed so many tournaments such as Croatia Open, Serbia Open and among others national and international tournaments. "
When you do not play much tournament so it hurts your ranking, the girl said.
"Even participating in a National tournament has become tough for us. The federation gave us the whole list for the upcoming tournaments, but we do not look at the list as it hurts when you know you cannot play these tournaments," the mother said.
Now, we can't afford these expenses, but we can't go back as she has given everything to the game whatever she has, the mother further added.
We were looking for someone who can help Vanshika to realise her dream-she wants to make the country proud at senior level.
Recently, we came to know about Believe Sports Foundation, is a non-profit venture helping sportspersons across the country, which has come forward to help Vanshika in realising her dream. Now, we hope, she will play TT freely, the mother said.
Talking to UNI, Sanket Chaudhury, Chairperson of the Believe Sports Foundation said, "We heard about Vanshika from one of the coaches who is part of our talent scouting circle, then, we watched her play and knew instantly what an amazing athlete she was.’’
“What impressed us was her drive and determination to improve her skills. Her daily routine is an incredibly challenging one, but she consistently sticks to it. She has dedicated herself to TT that has inspired us to play a role in her journey,’’ he added.
Talking Indian sportspersons’ condition in India, Chaudhury said, “There are also thousands of such athletes who are capable of much more but support only arrives once they make a splash on a big international level tournament. What about the efforts and finances required to get there? It takes a lot of time and money to hone your skills and actually reach your full potential. Helping out athletes at that stage is more crucial than providing them prize money after their big achievements. It is with this motivation that we started the Believe Sports Foundation."
The foundation is helping about a dozen athletes in the country.
UNI also held interaction to some of those athletes who are getting some kind of support from the foundation.
Vivek, who is a gold medallist in National Grappling Championship in (73kg) and secured a bronze in 42kg in World Championship Grappling Moscow, Russia in 2015 feels that he has missed international exposures due to financial constraints for three years.
"In 2015, we had sold out one of our plots to make sure he plays grappling freely, but I am a farmer and cannot earn much, so, I am still not able to meet his expenditures’’, Manish Kumar, father of Vivek said.
His sister would also play the game, but due to financial issues she left the sports, 40-year-old said.
”We have met couple of leaders, but we have not got any support from any leader,’’ dejected Vivek said.
Recently, just couple of months back, I met with the foundation’s members who have offered help to Vivek in pursuing his dream, Manish said.
On the other hand, Neeraj Swami, son of a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) checker, 21, who missed the class 12th exam last year, as he had to play a tournament in Ukraine, is preparing to make the country proud at 2021 World Boxing Championships that to be played in India.
“Now, I get some support from the federation (Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), but I still not able to meet my all expenditure, Neeraj said.
Neeraj has won gold medals in School Games Federation of India Nationals in 2017 and 2016 in 52kg. He also secured bronze in Ukraine Championship 2017. In recently concluded Delhi Olympics he won gold in 49kg.
Neeraj, who hails from Delhi, said “Now, I do play senior and my only goal is to make my country proud in 2021 World Championship and Commonwealth Games (2022).
Jayant Rajora, 24, comes from a very poor family. His father runs a small general store in northwest Delhi’s JJ colony in Wazirpur area.
He plays In line speed skating- won silver medal in S G F I National School Games in 2013 and he also participated in Roller Games World Championship 2017, Heng Yuan Xiang in China.
“Now, I want to get foreign exposures especially in Colombia because I have got all exposure in India”, Jayanath said.
“We do not get any financial help, my family bears all expenses. My coaches are searching sponsors for me as my family cannot afford this expenditure,’’ he added.
Talking about his dream he said,"My dream is to make country proud at 2022 Asiad.” (UNI)