Rita Yadav, 19, was named in the 24-member under-20 national fencing team for Asian Junior Championship on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the youngster was in for a reality check. The daughter of a car cleaner at a petrol station in Sector 17, she does not have the resources to arrange around Rs 1 lakh required for her trip to Abu Dhabi, UAE, where the tournament will be held in February.
Since fencing is not in the central government’s list of ‘priority games’, it does not fund the expenses of players for participation in the international events. As a result, the Indian fencers have to bear their expense themselves.
However, her weak financial condition has cast a doubt on her participation.
While her father is the sole bread-winner of a five-member family, Rita gives tuitions to take care of her own expenses. “I am hoping that other avenues may open up, facilitating my participation. In case things do not fall right, I may not participate,” said the player, who is into fencing for the past eight years.
Rita, who represented the UT in the Ranchi National Games in 2011, had earlier also got a chance to participate in an international tournament after she was selected for an international cadet (U-17) championship in Thailand.
“That time too financial constraints forced me to skip the tournament,” adds the player, who has over 20 medals from national-level tournaments and inter-university meets.
When the tournaments are around, Rita borrows fencing kit from others as she cannot afford to buy one.
“During inter-college and inter-university tournaments, college or university authorities issue the kit on temporary basis. And for the other events, my coach arranges it,” adds Rita, who studies in Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, and trains under Charanjeet Kaur at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10.
Chandigarh Fencing Association (CFA) secretary SP Sharma said, “While the CFA is itself trying to arrange funds for the girl, I will also talk to officials of the national federation. I hope that sponsors come forward to help the player.”