| Rashmita Sahu being honoured at a function in Jajpur after her team won the Women’s World Cup Kabaddi Championship a few months ago. Telegraph picture |
Jajpur, July 16: National kabaddi player Rashmita Sahu has decided to move out of the state because of alleged government indifference.
The 21-year-old Jajpur girl said neither was she given a job as promised by the railways nor paid the cash award of Rs 50,000 announced by Odisha Olympic Association for her performance in the Women’s World Cup Kabaddi Championship held in Patna last March. India won the tournament after defeating Iran.
“On my return, some railways officials approached me saying they would provide me a job and took some documents from me. I have not heard from them since. I have waited for more than four months and I am frustrated with this uncertain situation,” said Rashmita.
Rashmita said while other states were ensuring jobs and providing monetary and other incentives to their sportspersons, the Odisha government had been looking the other way. “Sportspersons in our state are ignored. Our government does not have any policy or political will to help us maintain our livelihood. Therefore, I have decided to leave the state in search of a job for my family’s sustenance,” she said.
In the past one year, four sportspersons, including star hockey player Prabodh Tirkey and women footballers Sasmita Mallick, Pinky Bompal Magar and Suprava Samal, had been forced to leave the state in search of jobs.
Rashmita’s father Duryodhan Sahu, a farmer, said his daughter has not been duly honoured by the government despite bringing glory to the state.
“My daughter is the first Odia girl to be in the national women’s kabaddi squad. But when she returned home after the tournament in Patna, there was no one from the government to receive her at the railway station. Even after that, I hoped she would be rewarded for her performance and our standard of living would improve, but that has only remained a dream,” he said.
Odisha Olympic Association secretary Ashirbad Behera said they would hand over the Rs 50,000 cash award to Rashmita in the annual felicitation function for sportspersons. “The programme is organised every year in December. Rashmita would be honoured along with other sportspersons who have made our state proud,” Behera said.
Jajpur collector Anil Kumar Samal has assured Rashmita of all help, including writing to the state government to provide her with some incentive. “I will do my best to convince the government to help Rashmita. She is an extraordinary sportswoman and our state cannot afford to lose her,” said Samal.