Sita Sahu Olympic medallist is one of those diligent daughters of India who made the country proud by being double Special Olympics medallist from India. Even her belonging to a lower-middle-class Family could not hamper her dreams to be a runner. At the tender age of fifteen, she won bronze medals for the 200 and 4×400 meter relay races in 2011 during the Special Olympics in Athens. Sadly, Sita Sahu Olympic medallist was forgotten by the nation she made proudly. She struggled for a long time before getting help from the government.
Sita Sahu Olympic Medallist
There were two fairy-tale moments in Sita’s life. First when she along with seven other kids went to see Shivraj Singh Chauhan on June 8, 2011, for tea with the chief minister. Second, when she returned home on July 6, 2011, from Athens with two bronze medals -in 200 meters and 1,600 meters- from the special Games.
“The 15-day stay in Athens had transformed her completely- from a diffident and morose girl to a confident teenager. She learned to comb her hair neatly and mingle with other participants,”
-Coach Sajid Masood
After making India proud by winning two bronze medals at the 2011 Athens special Olympics, Sita Sahu Olympic medallist didn’t get the rewards and recognition she deserved. Since she belonged to a very poor family, in lack of any government support she left her passion for running. She started to work with her family to earn a livelihood. A young and extremely talented sports star’s dream was dying a slow death! Official neglect had stopped the 15-year-old athlete’s promising career on tracks. Sita’s mother said that they were very poor and her husband was also ill. “So we had been to forced to sell the chaat and other eatables. Even the government had not helped us, and Sita was very upset,” she said. Sita and her family members earned around Rs 150-180 a day. She had completely given up her sporting career to make ends meet for her family. Her life became pathetic after she was neglected by state officials and other members of the athletics fraternity. Financial trouble of Sita’s family brought her career to a complete standstill as she along with her three siblings was busy making the base for their chaats in their one-room home.
Somehow, media got this news and highlighted it so much that it reached the ears of the government. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) gave her family a sum of Rs 6 lakhs and the State Government Rs 3 lakh. “I never thought it would happen. We had lost all hope. Now, we have a better life, the credit goes to my daughter,” said Sita’s mother, Kiran Sahu. Her former coach Sajid Masood, who is now the Assistant Sports Director of Madhya Pradesh, was quite happy when he met her this year at a coaching camp in Gwalior. “Sita has completely changed now. I am happy that she is leading a better life. She is smart and very confident now,” said Masood who had lost touch with her since April 2013.
Now, Sita feels that her dreams have fulfilled. She is happy to return to athletics. “We had no money. My career was over and I couldn’t even think of pursuing studies given my family responsibilities. All that has changed now,” said Sita who returned to athletics soon after receiving the monetary support. Sita’s father, who used to work as a daily wage laborer, has now increased their chaat business with a concrete shop. It gets a lot of customers owning to Sita’s fame and good taste.
Sita Sahu Olympic medallist is currently preparing for the Glasgow games. She wants to hit top form before she takes the flight to Games. Her mother owes this rise in their family’s status to her daughter. “She has changed our lives,” she says. Indeed, Sita Sahu has not made just her family but the entire nation proud of herself. But what’s important for us to learn from Sita’s story is, WE MUST RESPECT AND SUPPORT OUR ATHLETES. They shouldn’t be made to leave their dreams to earn a livelihood with their name and fame lost forever. Hope we Indians will take care of the ones who make us proud.