Dingko Singh, the Indian boxing legend and a gold medal winner in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, has been struggling to raise funds for treatment of a possible relapse of liver cancer. Three years after Singh was successfully treated, the player has been hospitalized again at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in New Delhi with symptoms of jaundice. To help him in his tests and treatment, the sporting fraternity has come forward to help in his recovery.
The 42-year old from Manipur had told Times of India earlier this week about his medical condition. "So far, the tests haven't shown anything suspicious, but the doctors didn't want to take any chances. They will conduct another biopsy, endoscopy and ultrasound to assess if there are new traces in other areas." His wife had, however, given an account of their financial troubles and added that their savings had dried up.
Two-time Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar has now come forward to provide assistance, along with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju urging them to directly pay for the pugilists hospital bills.
Rijiju also informed the Rajya Sabha on February 10 that a scheme called the "Pension to Meritorious sportspersons" who have won medals for India at the Olympics, Paralympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or World Cups will be eligible to monthly and lifelong pensions. He also added that another scheme called the "National Welfare Fund" for the players will be passed soon, which will cater to the sportsmen of yesteryears who are now living in abysmal conditions and for their medical expenses.
Over the years, we have heard a number of incidents where former medal winners of the country have been forgotten and left to fend for themselves long after their careers are over. If Rijiju does pass and implement the schemes, the upcoming stars too can focus on achieving sporting greatness without worrying for their future.