Recently, Shobhaa De, the pretentious ‘opinion-shaper’, as she puts it in her bio on twitter posted not so thoughtful remarks on Indian athletes at Rio Olympics 2016. In her tweet she wrote, ” Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity.”

This didn’t go well with other and the tweet backfired at Shobhaa De for all the right reasons. However this piece is not about her, and we would like her to read this and next time she should put a lot of thoughts before making any such comments on athletes. Because, it takes a lot to be one and even more to be an Olympian.

Dattu Bhokanal, who finished fourth in the rowing sculls quarter finals event with a time of 6:59.89, has a story which will leave you in heart-ache and inspired both.  This underdog’s story of how he has reached Olympics 2016 being held at Rio, and under which circumstances is a story of dedication, hard work, perseverance and sacrifice. (ALSO READ: Dattu Baban Bhokanal out of Rio Olympics 2016, finishes 4th in men’s rowing sculls quarterfinals)

Roopa Pai of Bangalore shared the story of Dattu throwing light on his life. When people were cheering for him during the rowing quarter finals event held yesterday where Dattu finished fourth , probably all the time he was thinking about his ailing mother lying in hospital bed. Dattu didn’t lose his focus.

We believe what his coach Paul Mokha tells about him is right. He is man who gets the job done, shutting everything out.

Here is what Roopa Pai wrote in her long post about Dattu:

If it weren’t so heartbreaking, this would be a funny story. Imagine this, if you will – there is this young 21-year-old onion farmer in a tiny village called Talegaon Rohi. The village is in one of the most drought-stricken areas of Maharashtra, the kind of place where farmer suicides are as routine as 45 deg C temperatures and accepted with the same weary resignation. His only familiarity with largish bodies of water comes from looking down the deep, dark wells his father digs and seeing, sometimes, a suggestion of a shimmer somewhere far below. He doesn’t do it often, though – he is terrified of water.

And then, suddenly, the universe shifts. The young man’s father dies, and the burden of supporting his family falls on his lanky 6 ft 4 frame. In 2012, looking for opportunities outside his village, he goes off and joins the army. An officer takes stock of his build, and suggests he try rowing. The young man swallows hard and gets into the boat. He knows that if he begins to do well at the sport, there is a chance for promotions, and monetary rewards, which he can send back home to his mother.

Four years later, exactly four years after he picked up an oar for the first time, the young man comes to the Olympics, an international sporting event he has never heard of until a year before, as his country’s sole qualifier in the rowing category.

This is a true story. The young man in question is Dattu Bhokanal, who qualified for the quarterfinals of the men’s single sculls on Saturday at Rio. Today, at 5:30 pm IST, he will row his heart out again, attempting to book himself a berth in the semis. An entire country will be rooting for him, hoping for his fairy-tale to have a happily ever-after.

But chances are that Dattu Bhokanal will not be as concerned about that – chances are he will be thinking of his mother, lying in a hospital bed in Pune, brain-damaged after a recent accident, unable to comprehend what her son has achieved.

It takes all kinds of strengths to be an Olympian.

Certainly, it takes a lot to be an Olympian.

Read the complete post here:

We hope Shobhaa De gets the message straight! Clicking selfies doesn’t make them any less of the athletes they are. Many of us, including De cannot even achieve what they achieve everyday in their training and their wars at personal life.