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Commonwealth Games medalist Divya Kakran once again highlights the lack of support for athletes from Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government

Divya Kakran comes from a humble background. Her mother used to sew 'Langots' and her father used to sell those to earn a livelihood.

On 7th August 2022, Divya Kakran, the wrestler who won a bronze medal in the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022, has shared on Twitter how she hasn’t been given any prize money to date by the Delhi government. She shared this in response to the congratulatory tweet from Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Divya Kakran tweeted, “Heartfelt thanks to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi for congratulating me on the medal. I have a request to you that I have been living in Delhi for the last 20 years and have been practicing my sports wrestling, but so far I have not been given any kind of reward money from the state government nor any help has been given to me.”

She wrote in the next tweet, “My only request to you is that I should be honored in the same way as other players, who despite being from Delhi play from other states, are honored.”

Divya Kakran comes from a humble background. Her mother used to sew ‘Langots’ and her father used to sell those to earn a livelihood. Rising from such difficult situations, the 23-year-old wrestler won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games 2018 and a gold medal in the Asian Games 2018 making India proud.

Earlier, on 6th August 2022, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulated the Commonwealth Games medalist wrestlers of India in his tweet in which he said, “Bravo wrestlers. Our wrestlers have made a mark in the Commonwealth Games. In wrestling, India got a total of 6 medals in a single day, out of which 3 are gold. Many congratulations to Sakshi Malik and Deepak Punia for their gold and Divya Kakran and Mohit Grewal for bronze medals.”

Delhi government’s history of poor support to the athletes

This is not the first time that Divya has criticized the Delhi government’s negligent approach toward sportspersons. Even after winning in Asian games in 2018, she had complained about the Delhi government’s lack of support for sportspersons.

In a meeting after winning the gold medal at the Asian Games 2018, and a bronze medal in the CWG 2018, she was seen lambasting Arvind Kejriwal. She said at that time, “Didn’t we have any ‘jugaad’? And I have brought a bronze medal for the country at the age of 19 in these Commonwealth Championship matches and in the Commonwealth Games 2018 too. I have won 12 gold medals for Delhi at senior-level championships. When I won a gold medal in the Asian Games, at that time also, nothing was done for me. It is very difficult to reach where I am starting from where I come from.”

Speaking at a felicitation ceremony for the athletes, Kakran said, “It is okay that you are doing something today but please think about those players who come from a poor economic background. Today you have brought all of us together in this program and you are congratulating us. But when we need somebody’s help the most, at that time nobody comes to help us. Because I have reached here today, you are doing this. I would say that you don’t do this much for us after achievement. But help us when we need it the most. If we get help and support in those hours, we will perform even better. Had we received any support, I would have brought a gold medal for the country for sure.”

Expressing her gratitude for her coach, Kakran said, “Our coach has done so much for us. I am a very lucky girl. He left his job and ensured that I stand on the mat to wrestle. I could not afford to have a healthy diet. My coach ensured that I get good quality dry fruits. But all this was working well till he was with us. Now, things have changed. I brought a medal from the Commonwealth Games and so you invited me here and said that you will now help us. I asked you for the help we needed at the time of the Asian Games. You told us that kindly write to us about the same. I gave everything in writing. But what happened after that? Nobody received my call.”

Underlining the commitment of the athletes, she said, “Sir, we are poor, but you can’t imagine the fire within us. What more can I say? I reached here today and suddenly everyone is supporting me. But when we needed this support the most, nobody did. There are many more players like me. Please think of them. I reached here because the Gods supported me, the coach blessed me and the parents supported me.”

Comparing the sports culture of Delhi with that of Haryana, she said, “Remember that Delhi has got a very less number of medals. Go and see how many medals are there with Haryana because they got the state support. A budget of Rs 3 crore is a huge amount, Sir. Delhi has sanctioned Rs 1 crore after this win. Earlier we had Rs 20 lakhs. Look at our hard work and hardships. Nothing happens in those 20 lakhs. In Haryana, no one tells the athletes that we don’t have milk and we don’t have ghee. Even we do have milk and ghee here in Delhi and we are also equally inspired. But we lack state support. So please think and act in a way so that next time Delhi bags the maximum number of medals in the Asian Games and all of them are gold medals.”

Divya Kakran won the Bharat Kesari title in 2018. It is notable that she had secured a spot in the finals of this tournament by defeating legendary wrestler Geeta Phogat.

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