Bhopal: India's athletes made the nation proud at the just-concluded Asian Games, as they bagged a record 69 medals. India also equalled its highest-ever medal haul at the continental event. But the euphoria of this fantastic achievement and the shine of a thousand flashbulbs should not let us forget a stark, dark reality that exists in India. That reality is athletes getting the short shrift from the officials, often forced to do menial jobs to eke out a living. 

The recent incidents reported include national level Haryana boxer Rishu Mittal forced to work as a domestic help. She had won gold in state level championship and also participated in national championships in 2014.

Also boxing coach Krishna Raut worked as a temporary worker in the Howrah Municipal Corporation to make ends meet.

Last year, a para athlete was forced to beg during Para Swimming Championships in Berlin, Germany. The visually impaired Kanchanmala Pande begged on the streets of Berlin after government funds did not reach on time.
And now, there is another incident from Bhopal.

On the same day when Asian Games concluded, Manmohan Singh Lodhi, a para sprinter, said he was promised a government job but it was not fulfilled. And now he is begging on the streets of Bhopal to make a living.

"I have met Chief Minister (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) four times, he made promises but didn't fulfill any of them. I am financially weak. I need money to play & also to run my family. If CM doesn't help me, I will earn my livelihood by begging on the streets," Lodhi told ANI news agency on Sunday.

Lodhi, who is from Narsinghpur in Madhya Pradesh, has done the State proud by winning gold and bronze medals. However, he is still not recognised by the government.

The athlete lost one of his arms in an accident. But that did not stop him from excelling in sports.

Is the nation's love reserved only for those athletes who win medals at big events? One must remember that in doing so, we are completely deflating the interest of those who don't get our kindness.