Preparing on their own and spending money from their pockets to play even the national-level tournaments, the sister duo of Yashi Sharma and Dhriti Sharma, who are table tennis champions in their respective categories, see a bleak future for themselves and the game in the country.
The paddlers from Ferozepur, who have won national titles for the state, are miffed up with the state government, which they claim spends crores of rupees on kabbadi and other events, but when it comes to table tennis, forget about the financial help, they have not even received a word of appreciation from the government.
Yashi Sharma, a Class IX of DC Model School, Ferozepur and Dhriti Sharma, BA first year student of DAV College, Amritsar have won medals plenty in sub-juniors, junior, youth and women national championships.
While talking with the Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the 56th State Table Tennis Tournament organised by Chakar Dhari Welfare and Charitable Club, both the sisters said, “Seeing our performance our father was determined to see us as champions. We have tried to fufill his dreams but in the process of achieving the same, he has spent his whole saving on us.”
“We need money to participate in national and international events. Till date our father has been spending it from his pocket. But now we have dwindled resources. Had the state government us, we could have participated in world table tennis events,” they rued, saying that they were once assured financial help by the government authorities with a promise that money would be transferred to their account, but they were yet to see any help coming to their rescue.
Rakesh Mahajan Lattu, organiser of the event, said nearly 500 participants are participating in the three-day event. He said participants who were playing here needed to be helped as they can win medals at international events.
MLA Ashwani Sharma, who is also member of the state table tennis committee, when apprised about the apathy of the state government claimed that he would do maximum for these players and would ask deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to allot a separate fund for the TT players.