Himani Agarwal, a national-level shooter with several medals in her kitty, is trying to raise money to fly to Singapore to participate in the 50-meter International Pole Rifle Shooting Championship.
Agarwal, who has won many gold medals at the state, north zone and national-level shooting events, does not have adequate funds to buy an air ticket to Singapore and has approached several officials and political leaders but failed to do so.
“I have met Aligarh MP Satish Gautam, former MP Shila Gautam, city MLA Zafar Alam, SP city president Ajju Ishaq, BSP leader Dhananjay Pandit, BSP Kol candidate in assembly election Ram Kumar Arya and BJP leader Hemwant Chauhan. I have also approached Raghuraj Singh, principal of IIMT where I am a student. Many of them assured me of financial help but I am yet to receive anything from them,” Agarwal said.
On April 16, Vatsalya Sewa Sansthan and Varshney & Agarwal Sanstha gave her Rs 20,000 while some other people and organisations have assured her financial help.
Agarwal’s father Mukesh Kumar Bhardwaj is a betel leaf vendor and her mother Chandra Prabha is a housewife. Her father met with an accident and his hand had to be amputated in 1994 after which the financial condition of her family got worse.
A resident of Bara Darwaza in Naurangabad, Agarwal is trying to collect the money and keeping her fingers crossed.
Agarwal could not participate in the international championships in 2012 in Japan and in 2014 in Korea because of lack of funds.
In 2012, she did not have a rifle of her own and borrowed Rs 2.5 lakh from a bank to buy one and is still repaying the loan. In 2014, she could not secure national arms permit as officials at the district magistrate’s office sat over her application for nearly two years.
Agarwal has won seven gold medals, two silvers and one bronze at the 35th UP State Championship in 2012. She also won one gold medal, one silver and one bronze at the 32nd North Zone Championship in Delhi in the same year.
She secured the eighth rank at the 58th National Shooting Competition in Pune in 2014 and was selected among the top 18 at a national competition held in Delhi in 2015. She has won gold and silver medals in the 2015 UP State Competition.
Agarwal received the first rank at the second Sports Craft held at Delhi in 2015 and fourth rank at the 25th All-India Championship held at Asansol in 2015.
Agarwal is not the first or the only player lacking sponsors or adequate training equipment.
Earlier this year, 23-year-old squash player Ravi Dixit made headlines after announcing his willingness to sell his kidney. A gold medallist at the 2010 junior Asian Championship, Dixit wanted to participate in this year’s South Asian Games, but lacked the necessary funds.
Dixit later backtracked, saying it was a “spur of the moment” decision. He also apologised for his comments in a letter issued through the Squash Rackets Federation of India, the local governing body, but insisted he still needed sponsorship to continue his playing career.