Athletes are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the growing financial prerequisites for becoming seasoned.
When the Chinese media said that it had the answer to India’s failure at the Olympics, it did not surprise many. An absence of sporting culture, the lack of qualified coaches and a stable sports infrastructure along with inadequate sponsors seem to be some of the major reasons.
However, despite all the concerns, the country does have several promising players who have been making it big internationally, but are still looking for sponsors and monetary aid. The situation is quite disheartening as many are struggling with lack of funds. Some headline makers of recent times talk about their challenges.
TENNIS IS AN EXPENSIVE GAME
Won the bronze medal for tennis in the mixed doubles category in the recently-concluded Deaflympics. Shaikh Ahmed, the father of the 19-year-old, says that he is yet to receive any financial assistance. “Tennis is an expensive game. I have quit my job as a lawyer and sold all my assets to meet her training expenses. Two rackets cost Rs 25,000 and shoes are worth Rs 8,000 (to be changed every 20 days). If I need to hire a professional coach for her, it will cost around Rs 18 lakhs per year,” he says, adding, “I spent Rs 9 lakh in China for my Olympic training. Today, I have a debt of more than eight lakh and have gone bankrupt. And even though my daughter has won a bronze medal, no sponsor has come forward.
Rs 50,000 per month
Accommodation and food
Rs 3 lakh
(includes participating in a minimum of 3 tourneys per month, else the ranking will drop)
International tours are costly
A marathon runner was selected for the World Duathalon (running and cycling) Championship in Spain last year but his financial status prevented him from going there and Vijay was dejected.
The 28-year-old athlete reveals, “I need a coach who can help me work on technical aspects such as running techniques, speed, track sessions, etc. Also, a physio can put me on a good recovery program in case I sustain any injury. A trainer can help in upping our fitness levels as well as with a weight training program.
Hydration is another vital aspect. We need to have the right diet and supplements to develop muscle. It takes around six months to prepare for an international tournament, and costs us around eight lakhs.”
Rs 1 lakh
Rs 1 lakh
Rs 3 lakh
Rs 2 lakh
Sofia Mehnaz, Rugby rockstar
LEARNING TO RAISE MONEY HERSELF
Sofia Mehnaz recently made it to the amateur Indian women’s rugby football team. She will be a part of the team that will play against Singapore and Malaysia. Her father is a garage mechanic and Sofia says that she’s now learning to raise money on her own. “I need a tough coach who can train me hard. I also need a special diet plan. At the Mancherial Ground, I am the only player and there is no one else on the ground. So there’s no motivation! People ridicule me saying ‘how come you play rugby’. I don’t want to depend on my parents anymore, although they are encouraging — so I am taking up mehendi design work. I use the money for buying track outfits and shoes. Recently, the Mancherial collector gave me one lakh rupees and encouraged me to pursue my dream, and I am looking for more support,” shares Sofia. To be able to prepare for a tourney, she needs around two lakh rupees.
Coaching Rs 1 lakh
Fitness trainer Rs 1 lakh
Traveling Rs 50,000
Nikitha, Speed aficionado
‘Need regular medical check-ups’
For 16-year-old Nikitha, running has always been a passion. She has already hit the headlines for her phenomenal feat of travelling around 2,000 kilometres in 45 days across Telangana in the scorching summer of 2017. An arduous sports lover and an international rappeller, Nikitha is preparing to participate in the Rappelling World Cup later this year. She says that she would be able to perform better with training assistance.
“I need someone who can help me in enhancing my technical competences like track running, running speed, etc. I also need a trainer who can guide me with my fitness training and diet. Like other countries, we need regular medical check-ups to monitor the fitness levels of the players and prepare them accordingly,” says this teenage sports star. On an average, for her marathon and rappelling training, Nikitha would need Rs 36 lakh per year.
Coaching 1 lakh
Fitness training 50,000 per month
Rappelling Classes 1 lakh
Physio sessions 50,000 per month
Shooting is a costly sport
Similarly, Rashmmi Rathore made India proud after she won a gold at the Asian Shotgun Championship very recently. However, she too echoes the sentiments of fellow sportspersons and says that shooting is such a costly sport that her dad had to sell most of his property and spent almost Rs 20 lakh on her training. The 34-year-old shooter also reveals that it would cost her around 15 to 20 lakh to train consistently every year.
Coaching 50,000 per month
Rifle maintenance 1 lakh
Ammunition 1 lakh
Shooting gun 10 lakh