Chennai

Judo national player fears dropping out of the sport due to eviction

Judo Player C. Bharathi ( left) with her brother and sister at Sathywanimuthu Nagar on January 3, 2020.

Judo Player C. Bharathi ( left) with her brother and sister at Sathywanimuthu Nagar on January 3, 2020.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

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Once they are relocated to Perumbakkam, more than 20 kilometeres from the city, they will not be able to continue the sport

The narrow alleys in Sathyavani Muthu Nagar leads to the house of 18-year-old C. Bharati, a resident of the slum but a national level Judo player and a gold medalist in her State.

She is now living with fear as she will lose her house once the eviction of one of the city’s largest slum resumes. In fact, the eviction has been halted temporarily with the demolition of her neighbour’s house.

Resettling to Perumbakkam, far away from her present dwelling, will snatch away the opportunity to practice the sport due to the distance factor, she laments.

Ms. Bharati, her brother C. Surya, a 10th-standard student and C. Sangeetha, a 7th standard student - live in a 300 sq.ft house in SM Nagar. Despite their poor economic background, their parents E. Chakravarthy and C. Lalitha somehow manage to fund their children’s sports and educational expenses.

Player C. Bharathi (3rd from right) with her family at Sathywanimuthu Nagar on January 5, 2020

Player C. Bharathi (3rd from right) with her family at Sathywanimuthu Nagar on January 5, 2020   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

“All three of them are judo players. While Bharati is a national player, Surya has participated in district level tournaments and the youngest Sangeetha has started practise recently. However the government has started evicting the houses in our locality and my neighbour’s house was the last to be demolished before it was halted.. Once it resumes mine will be razed down,” says Mr. Chakravarthy, a plumber.

Once they are relocated to Perumbakkam, more than 20 kilometeres from the city, they will not be able to continue the sport. “We start practice at 5.30 a.m at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and again at 4.30 p.m. So everyday we have to start from Perumbakkam at 3 a.m and return at 10 p.m. which is impossible. Our education will also be affected,” says Ms. Bharati, who has been practising the sport since she was in 4th standard.

Mr. Chakravarthy met a senior official of Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board in October asking for a house in K.P. Park or anywhere within the city so that his kids could continue the sport. “The [TNSCB] official had asked me to come once we receive the eviction order. But now the official has been shifted,” he rues.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 11:22:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/judo-national-player-fears-dropping-out-of-the-sport-due-to-eviction/article30485819.ece

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