Vidyavasini Kumari Sinha offers tips to youngsters at a kabaddi camp at Golf Ground in Dhanbad earlier this week. Picture by Gautam Dey
The only participant from Jharkhand in the team that got India the women’s Kabaddi World Cup this March is now playing a waiting game.
Ace kabaddi player Vidyavasini Kumari Sinha (23) of Bokaro was promised Rs 10 lakh by chief minister Arjun Munda on March 11, soon after India trounced 17 countries — beating Iran in the final, 25-19 — at the Kabaddi World Cup in Patna between March 1 and 4 to become world champions.
Six months have passed. The fact that nothing has happened rankles, especially when Vidyavasini sees how her team mates from other states have been treated.
“Two of my team mates from Maharashtra, Swarna and Deepika, got plum government jobs and Rs 1 crore as cash award. I haven’t got the Rs 10 lakh announced by the state government yet,” the player, in Dhanbad to train 150 kabaddi aspirants at a camp hosted by Dhanbad District Kabaddi Association, said earlier this week.
Vidyavasini, who is also pursuing a history honours course, is the third of five sisters. Her father S.N. Sinha, who worked in Bokaro steel plant, is no more. “Our family of five, comprising my mother Indu Bala Sinha, three unmarried sisters and I are dependent on the interest of fixed deposits and savings made by our father during his lifetime. It isn’t enough in these inflationary times,” she said.
On August 29, National Sports Day, deputy chief minister Sudesh Mahto, who also holds the sports portfolio, had handed over Rs 4.17 lakh to Vidyavasini. But that was separate from the Rs 10-lakh cash award announced by Munda at the Vikas Mela in Bokaro six months ago.
Financial struggles can be very distracting for a player, she said. “If you are always worrying about money, you can’t put your mind into practice. Then, your diet goes for a toss. How can we compete and win at international levels with dal bhaat as the only source of nutrition?” she asked.
She added that she had to fight feelings of frustration on two counts. “Cricket players get so much, we so little,” she rued. And secondly, Jharkhand government’s apathy in giving cash or jobs to sportspersons. “Players from Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra get huge support and facilities. Jharkhand should at least give jobs to players who have represented the country in international events.”
Even facilities for kabaddi practice are woefully inadequate, Vidyavasini pointed out. “We are compelled to practice on clay or plain soil, but international ties are hosted on a mat surface,” she said.
Coaching the youngsters at the 11-day camp on Golf Ground in Dhanbad that started on September 8, she added that there was no dearth of talent in Jharkhand. “I’d just like to tell my juniors to practise regularly. Gradually, kabaddi is getting famous in the global sporting circuit. And it is a fun game too,” she grinned, her worries on the backburner for the moment.