Indians are generally known to be sports lovers, and are extremely loyal to the players who represent their teams in front of the entire world and bring home awards. They will not accept any disrespect towards their country’s players. Remember when Maria Sharapova said she doesn’t know who Sachin Tendulkar is? Yes, they get furious. But then again, that was cricket. Not everyone gets the deserved limelight. Knowing it we present the Unrecognized Indian Athletes who didn’t got their due despite doing immensely well in their respective fields.
Plenty of other sports are played in the country; plenty of honours have been brought home. Unfortunately, the ‘other’ athletes often get treated like the step-children. Here are 10 Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins.
10 Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals
Sita Sahu hails from Madhya Pradesh. She is a double Special Olympics medalist from the country. When she was hardly 15 years old age, she participated in the 2011 Special Olympics at Athens. The Special Olympics is the largest competition in the world for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, in which athletes from 170 countries participate. Sita brought home bronze medals in 1600 and 200 m races. But now, she is counted Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins, as she struggles to support her family of six and earns Rs. 180 a day, selling gol gappe in Dhobiya Tanke in Rewa.
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9. Makhan Singh
Makhan Sing was an athlete during the 60s. He won a number of medals, starting at the bronze in the National Games 1959, followed by a gold in the short sprint and a silver in the 300 m in the following tournament. He then won 16 medals in the subsequent National Games. He even represented India in the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta, and brought home a relay gold in 4 x 400 m, and a silver in the 400 m. He also joined the Indian army, and retired in 1972. Yet, he is one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins. A leg accident caused his life to take an unfortunate turn. He died in 2002, and today, his wife survives by mortgaging his medals.
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8. Shanti Devi
Shanti Devi is a former kabaddi player who was on the Bihar team. She represented the undivided Bihar team in the 30th, 31st and 32nd National Kabaddi Championships during the 80s, and went on to win it in ‘82 and ’83 at Jamshedpur and Amravati, respectively. In fact, she played for the team more than 30 times in different championships. She won the Bihar Kabaddi Federal Championship. She led the team to gain several medals. 40 year old Shanti Devi, one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins, sells vegetables at the Sonari Aerodrome Market at Jamshedpur to feed her four children. She hides her medals, so that her children don’t ever play the sport.
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Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadav
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadav was a wrestler, best known for winning a bronze medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. In fact, he was the first Indian to win this medal. Since Norman Pritchard’s achievement of two silver medals in athletics back in 1900, India had won gold only in hockey. he paid for his own travel and lodging during to participate in the 1952 Olympics. He remained the only Olympics medalist till Leander Paes brought home a bronze in 1996. Yet, Jadhav remains the only Olympic medalist to have not been awarded a Padma Award. He is indeed one of the most Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins.
Nauri Mundu from Jharkhand’s Khunti district has represted the national hockey team 19 times. She started her career in 1995, and won the Nehru Hockey Tournament which helped her gain the best hockey player award. Former chief minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, handed her the honour. She helped team win many other medals. She even won the Jharkhand Women’s Hockey Association Award in 2008. But she soon had to give up on her sports dreams, as she received no help from government. One of the many Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Win, the 33-year old is now a teacher to support her family of 14.
Yousuf Khan was a football player of the 1960s. He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1966 because of his contributions to Indian football. He was a part of the national soccer team at the Rome Olympics in the year 1960. He also helped the team to reach victory in the 1962 Asian games, beating South Korea. He was considered an all-round player, noted for his incredible speed. He was also a key member of the Hyderabad City police team. He received head injuries during his matches, and these were cited to contribute to his Parkinson’s disease. He had to live off of Rs. 3500, and finally in 2006, he died, one of the most unfortunate and Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins.
Santhi Soundarajan is a track and field athlete who has won 11 international medals for India, as well as 50 medals for Tamil Nadu. She is the first Tamil woman who has won a medal at the Asian Games. Yet, she is also one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins. She was stripped of a silver medal which she won at the 2006 Asian Games after she failed a gender verification test, thus disputing her eligibility to partake in the women’s competition. Santhi has not only seen no change for the better in her life as an athlete, but she is also in quite a wretched condition at the moment, as she works in a brick kiln in Katthakurichi village to support her family of six.
Cfn. Murlikant Petkar was a private-jawan of the craftsman rank in the Corps of EME in the Indian Army, and was disabled during the 1965 war with Pakistan, as he sustained severe bullet wounds. Before his injury, he was a boxer. But, he did not let that stop his life, and decided to participate in sports, and represented his country. He won a gold in the Paralympics of 1972, held in Heidelberg, Germany, and set a world record in the 30 m freestyle event, at 37.33 sec. He was also the finalist in javelin, precision javelin throw and slalom. However, Petkar happens to be Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Win. His record is not official, as India started keeping record only since 1984.
As a defender, Rashmita Patra represented the football team of India at both junior and senior international levels. She also played a key role in the senior national championship of her state, Odisha, and led the team to a National Championship triumph in 2012. She started playing at the age of 12, and first represented in 2008 in the AFC U-16 qualifiers in Malaysia. But, as poverty nipped her career in the bud, she emerged as one of the most ill-fated out of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins. Rashmita got married to a local fisherman. To put food on the table, she herself runs a betelnut shop now.
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Devendra Jhajharia is a javelin thrower, representing India in the Paralympics. He competes in E46 events, and won a gold medal in the javelin throw at the Summer Paralympics in Athens in the year 2004. He thus became only the second gold medalist at the Paralympics in India after Murlikant Petkar. He set a new record with a distance of 62.15 m. He received the 2004 Arjuna Award, the 2012 Padma Shree Award, and the FICCI Para-Sportsperson of the year Award in 2014. He became the first Paralympian to win the Padma Shree honour. Yet, his name is unknown to the Indians, making him another one of the Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Their Wins.
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These 10 players are not the only ones who are completely unrecognized, even though they have represented India and its states, and brought home awards and honours, and yet, have received not help of any kind from the government. Poverty and health conditions have led them to accept lives and means of livelihood that only allow them to scrape by. Don’t forget to return to our site to know about the second part of our list of 10 Unrecognized Indian Athletes Who Never Got Their Due Despite Bringing Home Medals.
Do you know more names that could get included in the list of Unrecognized Indian Athletes. Do share with us in the comments below.