Meena Shah and Gopal Bhengra are two of several hundred Indian athletes who were left to fend for themselves after a stellar sports career. No monetary help came from any government organisation and both the athletes were forced to fend for themselves with minimal grants. There was however, one individual who came out of nowhere to help them both. Sunil Gavaskar was the angel in disguise who came forward willingly to assist both the athletes till their last days.
Towards the last few years of her life, Meena Shah was bed ridden. The herniated discs in her back caused her to be physically restricted from 2007 onwards. For around 7 years until 2015, the former badminton star was completely ignored by the then rising popularity of badminton in India. It was Sunil Gavaskar who came forward and helped her during the last few years of her life
The World Cup player who had to break stones at a quarry in Jharkhand to make ends meet. This was another sad case of government apathy but Gavaskar's empathy. The former cricketer made it a point to send a monthly money grant to the Gopal Bhengra until his last days. This helped him avoid working well into his late years and also helped to sustain him comfortably. Bhengra also served in the Army but could not avail medical benefits due to a lack of documentation.