She was vice-captain of the Indian women's football team when a leg injury in 2008 sent Madhu Kumari's hopes crashing, till President Pratibha Patil stepped in to help her after reading about her plight in newspapers.
Kumari, 30, from Bihar was grappling with abject poverty and was in need of a job. Her father had passed away in her childhood and her mother is mentally challenged.
Financially, she depends on the paltry handouts from her brother who runs a tea stall. She got her treatment done for two years after which the Rs 50,000 aid given by the state government had run out.
For survival, she has been giving football coaching to girls and doing odd jobs like working as receptionist in small organisations in and around Patna, a Rashtrapati Bhavan official said.
She said the President took serious note of Kumari's plight.
"The President desired Kumari's case should be pursued so that many such upcoming sportspersons get encouragement to excel and do their best in different categories of sports. "On instructions from the President, the case was pursued at different levels in the Bihar government which has now given her a job offer."