You have probably already read our first list of the 10 Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals. Knowing more of them we present the Unrecognized Indian Athletes who didn’t got their due despite doing immensely well in their respective fields.
In continuation with the previous list, here is a list of another 10 Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals. Let us take a look at the slides:
10 Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals (Part 2)
Vandana Katariya – Indian women’s hockey team
Katariya is a member of the national women’s hockey team which won the 2nd round of the World Hockey League. When the team arrived in the country, there was no reception or felicitation by the state or national officials. Vandana was the top scorer at the tournament by scoring 11 goals. While the team acquired a place in Round 3 of the league, which serves as a qualification event for the Rio Olympics of 2016, with players like Rajni Etimarpu, P Sushila Chanu, Yendala Soundarya, coach Helen Mary and Vandana Katariya, Ashwini Nachappa, etc. on the team, they were not acknowledged. Thus she and her team became Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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Sarwan Singh represented India in the 110 m hurdles at the 1954 Asian Games and won the much coveted gold medal. He completed the race in 14.7 sec. It is said that he did not run – he flew over the hurdles. It was his first international event. But, the event failed to help him at a personal level, since he did not even get a government job. Conditions got so bad that he had to beg to survive. He then rented a cab and started driving it. Sarwan, one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals, has been supporting his family for 20 years as a driver. He even sold his gold for money.
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Karnam Malleswari is the first woman from the country to become an Olympic medalist, when she earned a bronze at the 2000 Olympics, held in Sydney, lifting for 240 kg. She had a career of 10 years, during which she won a total of 11 gold medals and 3 silver medals, including a silver in the 1998 Asian Games. She has also been the National Champion nine times. She received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Shri and Arjuna Award. However, the 40 year old weightlifter is now a forgotten hero of the country, and is one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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Shankar Laxman was the goalkeeper of the Indian hockey team in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games. He was the first goalkeeper to be the captain of an international hockey team. He led his team to win 2 gold medals and a silver medal at the Olympic Games, and 2 gold medals and a silver medal at the Asian Games. He was awarded the Arjuna Award and Padmasri title. He quit hockey after missing the 1968 Olympic selection, but remained with the Army. He lived in dire poverty in the final years of his life, and died of gangrene as one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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Nisha Rani Dutt
Nisha Rani Dutt is an archer from Pathmada village of Jharkhand, who won the best archer’s award in Taiwan. She participated in the Asian Grand Prix, and won the best player award in Sikkim. She also bagged a silver medal at the South Asian Championship in 2008, held in Jamshedpur, and a bronze at the Bangkok Grand Prix in 2008. In 2005, she joined Tata Archery Academy. But it was difficult for her to run her family on a meagre stipend of Rs. 500-600. The 23 year old tried to earn for her family, but failed. Now she is in Jharkhand, jobless, and had to sell her bow and arrows, to put food on the table, and is one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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William Jones was a player of English billiards from India, and was national amateur champion for more than a decade, winning the amateur world championship twice in 1958 and 1964. For his contributions, he was awarded the Arjuna Award, the Padma Shri Award and the Dronacharya Award. His first national title came in 1950, and during the following 16 years, he became the winner of the amateur National Billiards Championship of India twelve times. He moved to coaching after retirement, and mentored Om Agarwal, Subhash Agarwal, and Ashok Shandilya. Yet, he happens to be one of the forgotten and Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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Asha Roy is an athlete from Singur in West Bengal, who clinched gold medals in both 100 m and 200 m events at the Open National Athletics meet in 2009. She is among the fastest Indians on the track of all time, and currently tops the list. Yet, she faces the same problem that most other athletes in India do – a lack of proper funding or sponsorship. As a result, she has faced difficulty getting three square meals a day, when she is in need of nutritious diet. His father lost his land, and had to take up vegetable selling, while Asha struggled to get a job, and her endorsement deals with the small companies fell through. She is another of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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Maria Irudayam chose himself an unconventional game, and did excellently in it. He is a two time world champion and a nine time national champion in carrom. He clinched victory in many international Carrom Board competitions, and has been a member of the national team, leading it to win team events at several tournaments, besides being a singles champion. He also made it to the top three in a large number of competitions during the 1990s. As of 2007, he was the only carom player to be awarded the Arjuna Award. Yet, as one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals, he has so far lived a life of mediocrity.
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Ashwini Nachappa is a former athlete from Karnataka whose claim to fame was when she outran P. T. Usha, not once, but on two different occasions. She also earned herself the title of India’s FloJo. She also received the Arjuna Award. Ashwini is currently working as the president of the Bangalore Urban District Athletics Association. She has also built a school as an educationist and social worker. She left a promising career in sports in order to work in the film industry. Her film career completely overshadowed her achievements in sports, and has since been forgotten, living as one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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MC Mary Kom is a five-time champion as an amateur boxer, and is the only woman to win a medal in each of the six world championships she has taken part in, and the first Indian woman who has received a gold medal in the Asian Games in the 2014 in South Korea. Yet, her life has been full of hardships as she battled through poverty and managed to train and excel in sports.
She has faced many of the regular problems that new athletes face, such as funding. Besides, as a woman of northeast India, she has also faced discrimination. She came into spotlight recently because of the Bollywood film. The controversy regarding the film is that Priyanka Chopra, who played Mary Kom, earned more from the film than MC herself does through her matches, making her yet another one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
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Hundreds of other athletes had done their best to achieve medals and honours for the country. Yet, they have received no fame. Sometimes, they have even had to struggle for mere survival. Many talents have remained unrecognized. Many more have not even had the chance to flourish. While cricketers hog the spotlight, individual players are struggling for a place in the sports world. A few like Saina Nehwal are shining bright enough to go unnoticed. Some like Satnam Singh Bhamara are aiming for international fame and career. Will the spotlight shift to these players in India? Only time will tell.
Do you know more names that could get included in the list of Unrecognized Indian Athletes. Do share with us in the comments below.