Nisha Rani Dutta, the indigent former national archer who was forced to sell her silver bow, on Tuesday received a cheque for Rs.20,000 from The Hindu readers, who were moved by her plight after her story hit the headlines recently.
Ms. Dutta, 21, has two sisters dependant on her. Her mother and father are in their seventies. “It is difficult for my father to buy seeds for farming. We never had enough food to have a square meal. I applied to the Jharkhand government for the post of constable, but I was not selected as I was considered over-qualified… I applied for jobs in the Railways, banks and the State police, where I would have had a chance of taking part in sporting events, but I failed…”
She wondered why the government was having sports quotas when it did not select sportspersons like her.
“I had requested the State government to give me support so that I may train in archery at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, to get a good job to support my family. However, Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mehto, who also holds the Sports portfolio, was unable to offer me any help,” Ms. Dutta told The Hindu. “When I participated in events for the country, nobody recognised me. I felt disappointed, and I decided to sell my bow as I had no options left.”
Born in a farming family of Patamda in Jamshedpur district, Ms. Dutta quit archery two years ago owing to poverty. She won a silver medal at the 2008 South Asian Federation Championship in Jharkhand, a bronze medal at the 2006 Bangkok Grand Prix, and the Best Player Award in the 2007 Asian Grand Prix in Taiwan. Her house collapsed during last year's monsoon. “I required money to repair it, which compelled me to sell my silver bow.” She failed even to secure a bank loan to pursue sports education as neither she nor her family members had enough land, and no guarantor.