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Family’s income sold for medals

other Updated: Feb 18, 2011 23:08 IST
Anbwesh Roy Choudhury

Lakhan Hansda, 22, earned a bronze in the 34th National Games Jharkhand for Jharkhand in the 500 meter team event in cycling on Friday at Ranchi's Sidho Kanhu Veldrome Stadium. But the medal came at a cost: He had to mortgage his family's agricultural land.

Lakhan and his brother Sanu Hansda, 17, also participating in the cycling event in the National Games, are farmers and vegetable vendors by profession in their village in Potka block, around 200 km south east of capital Ranchi.

To purchase their first Velodrome apt Italian designed cycles made of an English framework and Japanese parts, costing Rs 65000, the brothers put their 10 decimal land-- the family's only source of income-- on mortgage in the year 2004-05.

Both brothers, sons of Sadam Hansda, a fourth grade employ at the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Jadugoda district, had started practicing with one cycle and Lakhan got his first reward by wining the gold in U-19 70 kilometer race in the Pune Youth Games in 2007.

"A part of my land is still under mortgage. The fertility has dropped. But I hope this medal in the ongoing games would earn me some reward to free my land," said Lakhan who will now participate in individual heats at the Games.

His head coach Arshad Khan describes his rise as excruciating. "Both brothers practiced on the national highway 33 for long distance events. For shorter contests, they practiced on the Kadma-Sonari link road in Jamshedpur," said Khan.

"The bronze comes after only six days of practice in the first velodrome of the state," the Jharkhand Cycling Association secretary Satvir Singh said, "I hope the state government recognizes this win and at least provide him job for a sustainable income,"

Inderjeet Singh, two times Asian Games and Asian Cycling Meet cyclist, and Lakhan's coach said that after this event, win and infrastructure he will get golds for the state.

Richa rises to 11
Delhi's Richa Mishra Friday increased her medals tally to 11 golds and two silvers in the ongoing 34th National Games here Friday.

"I am happy with the feat. The focus is now only the Olympics," Richa told IANS. The Delhi swimmer won the gold in 400 metres free style and 200 metres individual medley.