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Dung Dung may have to sell Olympic gold for food

Ranchi: Poverty-stricken Moscow Olympic hockey gold medallist Sylvanus Dung Dung is fighting hard not to put the medals under the hammer to get temporary relief.

“Occasional bouts of depression due to poverty may one day force me to auction my heart and soul (the Olympic hockey gold and other medals),” Dung Dung, one of the architects of India’s 4-3 win against Spain in the 1980 Olympic final, said in an interview here.

“I just get Rs 500 as pension and have seven mouths to feed... Life is becoming unbearable with each sunrise,” said the Olympian.

“My only request to the Jharkhand government and the Indian Hockey Federation is to utilise my experience. This would benefit the youngsters and would give me a new lease of life as well,” said Dung Dung, who was also the member of the 1978 silver medal winning Indian team in Bangkok Asia Games.

For his sterling performance in the Moscow Olympics, the Jaganath Mishra government in Bihar had provided him with a house but unfortunately the hockey stalwart has been running pillar to post to get the house registered in his name. “The house is in a dilapidated condition. I cannot even spend money for white washing, leave aside the repair work. As if this is not enough, the Jharkhand authorities have also compounded my misery by demanding unwanted documents.”

Stating how he had successfully coached Central Command, Lucknow to four consecutive victories in the Inter-Army Hockey Championship, the veteran right-back also helped the Northern Command, Udhampur, to register its first ever win in the final in 1986.

Asserting that no NIS coach could match his skills, the emotionally frail former giant said: “My applications for coaching is being turned down as I am not a product of NIS. The authorities do not understand the difference between an Olympian and a common coach.”

He urged the state administration to give him a chance and “I will see that four/five persons from Jharkhand play for the nation.” However, the former master craftsman said: “For the time being I shall be happy to coach even a school team as it will supplement my meagre income.”

A father of three sons and a daughter, tears clouded his eyes when he choked to explain the hardship he had faced when he got his niece married recently. (PTI)

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