A teen sporting prodigy in Jharkhand is suddenly running frantically, not on the ground but from pillar to post to keep alive his dream of representing India in an international sports event to be held in South Africa next month.
Jeetendra Oraon, 17, the son of a school cook who fends for four more sons and two daughters, needs to fork out Rs. 50,000 for the airfare and visa charges if he is to attend the First Junior World Ring Ball Championship in Pretoria.
Ring ball closely resembles netball and involves passing the ball from player to player until it is thrown through the goal ring.
The tribal boy, a Class 11 student, from Gumla district - around 130 km west of capital Ranchi - is all of Rs. 50,000 short.
"There's no way my father can arrange such a big amount," Oraon, who has played football and hockey at the regional and national levels, said on Sunday. He has been shuttling between government offices in Ranchi for help.
Oraon and another boy from the state have earned a call up to the national camp and told to be prepared to pay for the travel abroad.
The youngster's village mukhiya (chief), Hari Oraon, has accompanied him to Ranchi. "He is a multi-talented youngster. Besides ringball, football and hockey, he is equally good in volleyball. I will try till the last hour to get a ticket for him to South Africa," the mukhiya said.