To make ends meet and support her family, the former national archer, Nisha Rani Dutta, was forced to sell her silver bow for a measly Rs.50,000.
“I sold the bow online to a student in Manipur. I sent a picture of my bow and he agreed to buy it. I had to sell it as my family is in a very poor condition and I tried to help them by providing some money,” said Ms. Dutta.
“I started archery when I was 13 years old. As I was not a cricketer, it was difficult for me to continue the game and support my poor parents. In 2005, I joined Tata Archery Academy and remained there till 2008. Though I earned a monthly stipend of Rs. 500 to 600, it was not sufficient. Yet I managed to save more than half of the money for my family.”
Asked about her family, Ms. Dutta said: “My father is a farmer and we don't have much land. It is difficult for him even to buy seeds for farming. We never had sufficient food for a full meal.”
“To meet my family's needs, I went to Bangalore in 2008 and stayed there for a year with Mittal Champions Trust on a contract basis and earned Rs. 3,000. But now for two years I am in Jharkhand doing nothing. So I decided to sell off my silver bow gifted to me by my Korean coach at Mittal Champions Trust. I don't regret selling it as I did not have anything else to sell.”
Admitting that the bow actually costs Rs. 3 or 4 lakh, Ms. Dutta said she had to undersell it as she urgently needed funds to repair her house.
Ms. Dutta is currently a Bachelors of Arts student at Jamshedpur Women's College. “I have requested the State government to provide me financial assistance so that I can take training at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala. This would help me get a good job to support my family.”
Ms. Dutta, has won medals at international competitions, including one at the Bangkok Grand Prix.
Tata Archery Academy's Chief Coach Dharmendra Tiwari said Ms. Dutta was with the Academy before switching over to another group.
PTI reports: Ms. Dutta has received Rs.25,000 from Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto. Mr. Mahto presented the cheque to Ms. Dutta on behalf of ‘Gunj', a cultural organisation set up by him a decade ago, here on Tuesday.
Mr. Mahto assured Ms. Dutta of all help and advised her to continue her studies. She was also presented with a memento.
The 21-year-old archer hails from Pathmada village in Jamshedpur district and left the sport two years back due to financial constraints. Her achievements include a silver medal at the 2008 South Asian Championship in Jharkhand, bronze at the 2006 Bangkok Grand Prix and also the Best Player award in the 2007 Asian Grand Prix in Taiwan.
In response to offers of help from our readers, The Hindu undertakes to collect and forward contributions to Ms Dutta. Readers may mail cheques payable to "Nisha Rani Dutta', with a covering letter, to the following address:
859-860 Anna Salai
Chennai 600 002.