Father jobless, judokas forced to sell fruit - ECAS Punjab

Father jobless, judokas forced to sell fruit

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Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 15

Three teenaged brothers, all medals winners in the National School Games, have been forced to sell watermelons after their father, the sole bread earner of the family, became jobless in the Covid lockdown.

Rajesh Sharma used to drive a mini auto-rickshaw for a tent shop owner and earned enough to sustain his family comprising three sons — Shivnandan (17), Abhinandan (16) and Raghunandan (13).

All of them have won medals in judo in different weight categories in various editions of the national games conducted annually by the School Games Federation of India. At the end of March, at a time when the first of the multiple lockdowns kicked in, Rajesh’s employer asked him not to report for work anymore because “his tents are no longer in demand”.

The brothers now ply their ‘rehri’ near their school on the Dorangla road. “Being poor is no crime but it hurts when your poverty gets displayed in the public,” says Shivnandan.

“On the one hand, I find it difficult to make both ends meet while on the other, I have to go through the ignominy of seeing my starry-eyed sons plying a fruit cart. Coach Amarjit Shastri used to tell me that both Shivnandan and Raghunandan have the potential to represent the country, “ Rajesh says.

Before the virus played a spoilsport, the boys used to train at the Judo Federation of India adopted coaching centre at Government Senior Secondary School.

“The brothers are talented and Abhinandan is really good due to his technique, versatility and speed. Their time will come. After all, you are never too old to set another goal,” Shastri said.



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