Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Praise is fine, but where is money or help from Delhi govt, asks CWG medal winner Divya Kakran

Kakran won a bronze in 68-kg freestyle Friday; reminded CM Arvind Kejriwal of lack of state support after he praised her. Originally from Delhi, Kakran shifted to UP after she claimed she didn’t get any help for her illness.

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New Delhi: After winning the bronze at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, wrestler Divya Kakran had a message for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal once he congratulated her for the feat – accolades are fine, but where is the help?

Arvind Kejriwal toasted Kakran after she won the bronze Friday by defeating Tiger Lily Cocker Lemalie of Tonga.

Kakran replied to his “bahut, bahut badhai” message with the tweet: “Heartfelt thanks to the Honourable Chief Minister of Delhi for congratulating me on the medal. I have a request, I have been living in Delhi for the last 20 years and have been training in my sport wrestling here, but till now I have not received any prize money from the state government, nor have I received any help.”

“My request is that I be felicitated like the way you honour other players — who despite being from Delhi — also play for other states,” she added in another tweet.

Kakran also shared a video from 2018, highlighting her earlier plea for help from the Delhi government and reminding it of its poor support for athletes.

In the video, Kakran makes a similar request to the Delhi CM during the felicitation ceremony after the contingent’s return from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she had also won a bronze medal.

This tweet was captioned: “History is repeating itself, it seems as though everything is just as it was, nothing was done for me earlier and nothing has been done now.”

According to reports, the Delhi government responded to her allegation by saying, “The Delhi government respects all sportspersons of the country and prays for their bright future. Currently, Divya plays for Uttar Pradesh. If she had played from Delhi or she had been part of any sports scheme of the government or she has applied in any such scheme, then the government will surely look into it.”

Kakran is not the only sportsperson to have complained about the Delhi government’s lack of support. In 2018, Indian boxer Gaurav Bidhuri, a bronze-medallist in the World Championships, also criticised Delhi for the lack of recognition, monetary reward or a job.

Amoj Jacob and Sarthak Bhambri, 400m runners for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, had complained they were yet to benefit from any of the schemes announced by the Delhi government for sportspersons.

Divya Kakran’s journey

From a humble background, the 23-year-old wrestler’s path to success has not been smooth. Her father is a seller of “langot” undergarments and, according to reports, has done business outside stadiums where Kakran played.

This has been a practice since her pre-teen days, when the “Dangal Queen” would go head-to-head with boys at every village “dangal (tournament)” across north India, and her father Suraj sold underwear on the sidelines.

Since then, Kakran has amassed over 60 medals in her sporting career, including 17 gold medals at the Delhi State Championship. Kakran, who is an eight-time holder of the Bharat Kesari title, also made the country proud at the 2020 Asian Games, where she won a gold medal in the women’s 68-kg category. She had additionally bagged a gold medal at the 2017 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship, as well as a silver at the 2017 Senior Asian Championships. Kakran is also known for defeating legendary wrestler Geeta Phogat.

After her Asian Championships win in 2017, Kakran stopped wrestling because of kidney stones. Reports said she received no help from the Delhi government even then, and was forced to shift base to Uttar Pradesh as preparations for the upcoming Nationals and U23 World Championships were to begin.

Also read: PM Modi lauds CWG winners, says first medal in cricket will always be special


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