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State dodges kabaddi champ’s plea

- Tarnished glitter of false promises made to gold medallist

A Bokaro sportswoman with genuine global goosebumps moments to her credit declared on Monday that she would go to Ranchi on Tuesday to return her gold medal to an “apathetic state” if chief minister Hemant Soren didn’t hear her out.

Vindhyavasini Kumari (24) was part of Team India that won gold in the first women’s Kabaddi World Cup in Patna on March 4, 2012. The spunky Indian girls defeated Iran 25-19.

After the glory, came the disappointments, three in a row.

“The next day, then Jharkhand chief minister (Arjun Munda) promised me a job according to state provisions and Rs 10 lakh in cash,” she told journalists.

She got neither.

One of the two deputy chief ministers then, Sudesh Mahto felicitated her at an event in Silli, Ranchi, on March 10, 2012 and promised her Rs 10,000. She never got the money.

Then Bokaro district commissioner Sunil Kumar promised her a monthly scholarship of Rs 10,000. She got nothing.

Vindhyavasini belongs to a rare family where parents encouraged all five sisters to excel in sports. Eldest two, Dolly and Archana, now both married, played basketball and kabaddi, respectively, and bagged jobs with Railway Protection Force (RPF).

Vindhyavasini went on to bag a world cup gold in kabaddi. Younger sister Amrita is a state-level kabaddi player, while the youngest, Hemlata, is earning a name in district-level badminton.

But the family is in dire straits.

Vindhyavasini’s father, an employee of Bokaro Steel Limited, died in 2010. Her mother gets a pension of Rs 450 a month and she and her three unmarried daughters subsist on the husband’s savings. They live in a rented house in Sector VIII. It gets difficult to make ends meet, particularly as sportspersons require a protein-rich diet.

Vindhyavasini added she was a history graduate and had earned a diploma in computers. “I have a reputation as an international kabaddi player, I am a graduate and computer literate. Don’t I deserve a job? Is this the way the state treats a gold medallist?” she asks.

Stressing she would head to Ranchi, she added she had tried to meet Hemant many times but had not succeeded.

“He could not meet me due to his hectic engagements. Once his private secretary had taken down my application saying the needful would be done. This also did not help,” she said.

The modest girl believes in answering questions precisely. Asked her age, she answered: “Twenty-four years, eight months.” Then, showing her emotions for the first time, she said: “I devoted the best years of my life to kabaddi. I could not attend the shradh ceremony of my father in 2010 because I was away at a kabaddi camp.”