Slum lads to represent Mera Bharat | india | Hindustan Times
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Slum lads to represent Mera Bharat

THEIR STORIES are not very different from that of Irfan Pathan. But unlike the son of a Baroda mosque Muezzin, Amardeep Basedia (17) and Himalaya Vishwakarma (17) are not in cricket. This ?misfortune? has robbed them of the glory they richly deserve after being selected to represent India in the World Fencing Championship in South Korea beginning from April 9.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 12:19 IST

THEIR STORIES are not very different from that of Irfan Pathan. But unlike the son of a Baroda mosque Muezzin, Amardeep Basedia (17) and Himalaya Vishwakarma (17) are not in cricket. This ‘misfortune’ has robbed them of the glory they richly deserve after being selected to represent India in the World Fencing Championship in South Korea beginning from April 9.

When Himalaya is not practicing fencing at the Tatya Tope Stadium, he helps father Harka Vishwakarma sell “Chaat” near Birla Mandir premises.

 "At least someone acknowledged how our children have achieved this success despite heavy odds", said Harka Vishwakarma, father of Himalaya Vishwakarma.

In his last contest, Himalaya lost 15-13 in the quarterfinals against Scotland in the Commonwealth Championship held in Chennai in January this year.

Both the boys live in Om Nagar slums near Vidhan Sabha. Rest of Bhopal might not be aware of the City lads’ great feat, a wave of happiness was clearly visible in the Om Nagar slums.

When this correspondent visited their homes, the family members were overwhelmed. “At least someone acknowledged how our children have achieved this success despite heavy odds,” a beaming Harka Vishwakarma remarked.

“It’s like dream come true that my son has been selected for the world championship. I never thought of such a big day in my life ” added the delighted father.

A cursory look in the one-room shanty gives some idea how difficult it must have been for Harka to let his son hone skills in this not-so-popular sports at the expense of meagre family income.

“It is always hard for me to run the family. But when I saw enthusiasm in the eyes of my son, I decided that at least he should be paid for admission to the Tatya Tope Stadium,” said Harka.

Glint in the eyes, Himalaya says he will do utmost to measure up to the father’s expectations. “I want to bring medal for my family,” said Himalaya.

Interestingly, despite the father’s insistence that he concentrate on the game, Himalaya has no hesitation in preparing “Chaat” to help Harka sustain the family.

The story of Amardeep is almost the same. “Amardeep has a passion for this game. He is confident of winning medals in the championship,” said Vishal Vishwakarma, brother of Amardeep who has already left for Patiala to join the camp that began from Wednesday. Amardeep has already represented India in the world championship organised in Austria in 2005.

Though State Government has supported Amardeep through some cash awards, regular support to the players for coaching is still not there.