Winner of 11 international medals for India and around 50 medals for her home state Tamil Nadu, Santhi Soundarajan saw herself pushed down and humiliated, then forgotten and forced to slog it out in a brick kiln for sustenance. But now help is on way.
"I am not being treated like a human being. All I need now is a job that secures my future," Soundarajan who won the 800 metres silver medal in the Doha Asian Games but saw it snatched back after she failed a gender test, told IANS over phone from her native Pudukottai district.
Now there is ray of hope for her. Public sector GAIL (India) Ltd has announced a relief of Rs. 100,000 for Soundarajan.
"An officer of GAIL met Santhi Soundrarajan and conveyed the decision of the company regarding the relief. GAIL has granted this relief on purely humanitarian considerations and its decision has no reflection on the issues of the case," said a company statement.
Showing camadarie, former athelete Ashwini Nachappa in trying to get Soundarajan a decent job.
"I have spoken to people known to me. I hope something good happens to Santhi," Nachappa told IANS.
"All I want a job. I am not saying I want this or that job. A job that offers me security," Soundarajan pleads.
"Though I have coached a girl who has won silver medal in the under 16 3,000 metres at a national meet held in Bhopal, I am told that I cannot get a coach job as I have not passed the exam," she said.
She said the prize money of Rs. 1.5 million given to her for winning the Asian Games medal was spent in marrying off her sister, financing the education of her brother and sister and for day to day expenses.
For sometime, she was on contract as a coach at Tamil Nadu's Sports Development Authority. However the contract was not renewed.
"I have written a letter to chief minister J Jayalalithaa narrating my plight and seeking a job," Soundarajan said.