Sahu, a double bronze medallist at the 2011 Special Olympics, used to man a golgappa stall with family in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh until late last year. She now returns to sport.
Little over a year ago, Sita Sahu, double bronze winner at the 2011 Special Olympics in Athens was selling gol gappas with her mother and siblings in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.
Her family on an average earned Rs 150-180 a day. She had completely given up her sporting career to make ends meet for her family. Sahu’s life dwindled after she was neglected by state officials and other members of the athletics fraternity. Her family’s financial strife brought her career to a complete standstill as Sahu, along with her three siblings was making the base for their chaats in their one-room house in Dhobia Tanki.
That was 2013. Now, Sahu and her family lead a different life. Three years after she made her country proud, Sahu was finally rewarded by the Madhya Pradesh government, which finally came true on its promise of rewarding her family.
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) gave her family a sum of Rs 6 lakhs and the State Government Rs 3 lakh for her 3 bronze medals. “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 also the Assistant Sports Director of Madhya Pradesh, was elated 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.
He also said that back in 2011, during the Athens games, Sahu had no proper clothes and was a very shy girl.
Sita believes that she is living a dream and was 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,” asserted Sita who returned to athletics soon after receiving the payment.
She also said, unlike the yester years, she is now receiving a lot of guidance from state athletes and coaches. Though she missed out on the 2015 Los Angeles World Games berth, but is content with her abilities so far.
Her brothers, who once helped her in making golgappas have also resumed studies.
Sita’s father, who was once a daily wage labourer, has now expanded their chaat business with a concrete shop. It gets a lot of customers and is especially known for its mouth-watering Aloo Tikkis and Bhalla Padpi’s in the Rewa Nagar Nigam area.
Currently preparing for the Glasgow games, Sita wants to hit top form before she boards the flight. Her mother, who was once proud that her daughter could roll out perfectly round golgappas, owes this rise in status to her.“She changed our lives,” she says.