Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore’s pragmatic approach to rejig India’s sports has shown a ray of hope for the sporting brotherhood. Within just three months of his appointment, several promises have been made which kindle our expectations of a better future of sports in the country.
Lately, the Minister has approved a sum of Rs 5 lakh to Asian Games gold medallist Kaur Singh to help the former boxer meet his medical expenses. The fund would be provided from the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons. Ace Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has also announced his intention to contribute.
Boxer Kaur Singh has been suffering from a heart ailment for quite some time. 65-year-old Singh had won three gold medals in different heavyweight boxing championships for the country, which include the 1982 Asian Games.
From Shah Rukh Khan to Rajyavardhan Rathore, they all contributed
Padmashri Kaur Singh, who is a forgotten hero of Indian sports, has so far been reeling under severe crisis owing to an apathetic attitude shown by the Punjab Government. In 1982, Singh was promised a cash award by the then Akali Dal government. However, the promises were not delivered and he had to run from pillars to post to receive the cash prize.
Singh was desperately in need of the cash prize so that he could fund his medical treatment. Unable to meet expenses, two years ago, he was compelled to take a loan worth Rs 2 lakh from a money lender.
The boxer, hailing from Kanal Khurd village of Sangrur district, is the only Indian to fight with the boxing legend Muhammad Ali in an exhibition bout in 1980.
In 1982, Kaur Singh was promised a cash award by the then Akali Dal government. However, the promises were not delivered and he had to run from pillars to post to receive the cash prize.
Apart from winning a gold medal in the Asian games held in New Delhi during 1982, he also clinched one gold medal in King’s cup and another in Asian championships.
Singh is an army veteran and had retired as a Subedar from Indian Army. He was awarded a Sena Medal for his valiance and was later employed as a Sub-Inspector by the Punjab Police. Today, his life runs on a meagre pension.
In 1982, the then chief minister of Punjab Prakash Singh Badal had announced an incentive of rupees one lakh to Kaur Singh after he won a gold medal in the Boxing championship. But even after 35 years, he is yet to get his cash award. After he reminded Chief Minister Badal of his investment, he offered token money of Rs 10,000.
Singh lives with his wife Baljeet Kaur, who is also on the bed suffering the pangs of old age.
India needs to pay its due to its sporting heroes who once brought laurels for the country. We can only hope the recent help offered by the Union Sports Minister, reaches him soon so his medical expenses can be taken care of.