Jalandhar: It’s a sad reality that many athletes and sportspersons who have brought laurels to our country are now either languishing in poverty or suffering from unemployment. While our cricketers enjoy name, fame and money, other athletes are soon forgotten, thanks to our apathetic public and governments. One such woman is a disabled chess player from Jalandhar who has won several medals in national and international events, but hasn’t received any help from the government. Malika Handa has now urged the Punjab government to provide her with a coach and a government job.Also Read - Blind Cricket World Cup Winner Naresh Tumda Forced to Sell Vegetables & Do Labour Work to Make Ends Meet

Notably, Handa bagged a gold medal at the World Deaf Chess Championship and a Silver medal at the Asian Championship in Chess in the year 2017. She has been the National Champion seven times.

However, Handa, who has been playing chess for the past ten years has received no financial assistance from the state government. Over the past seven years, she has repeatedly urged the state government to provide her a job. Soon after the best ever Olympic performance of Indian players at Tokyo, she tweeted and urged Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit S Sodhi and Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur for a job and said that she is getting depressed day by day.

“@iranasodhi sir I am world champion in my own chess game. Why why Punjab Govt ignoring me?? We are very very waiting after 8 years ago as I have not a job or not cash award all. I m sitting at home why why I’m getting depressed day by day No one sees my hard work @ianuragthakur,” Handa said in a tweet.

Speaking to ANI, Renu Handa, the player’s mother said that her daughter has received no appreciation from the state government despite being a seven-time national champion.

“My daughter is playing chess for the past ten years. She has won many national and international medals for the country. She is the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in the International Deaf and Dumb Chess Championship. She also received a national award from President last year. She has received no appreciation from government despite being a seven-time national champion,” said Renu Handa.

Her mother said that they have appealed to the Punjab government that her daughter went into depression after all this and the government is not taking care of her.

“The Punjab government is not even providing a coach to my daughter. She has won many medals for the country still is ignored by the government. We belong to a middle-class family and now, we can’t support her to continue with her game. But to play at world level we need government support,” her mother said.

In a similar story, Naresh Tumda, a blind cricketer from Gujarat’s Navsari, who was a part of the playing XI of the World Cup-winning team, has been forced to do labour work due to COVID-19 induced lockdown.

“I earn Rs 250 a day by doing labour work. I have requested Chief Minister thrice for a job but didn’t get a reply. I urge the government to give me a job so that I can take care of my family,” he said.

(With ANI inputs)