Haryana shuts down athletics nursery, Gurpreet's dreams of running for India ebb away

The Haryana sports department’s decision to close down its Panchkula athletics nursery, along with many others across the state, has left the likes of Gurpreet Pal worried that life might pass him by.
Gurpreet-Pal-now-shuttles-between-Panchkula-and-his-village-which-is-135km-away-to-continue-his-training-SANJEEV-SHARMA-HT-PHOTO
Gurpreet-Pal-now-shuttles-between-Panchkula-and-his-village-which-is-135km-away-to-continue-his-training-SANJEEV-SHARMA-HT-PHOTO
Updated on May 29, 2015 11:19 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | By, Karnal

The Haryana sports department’s decision to close down its Panchkula athletics nursery, along with many others across the state, has left the likes of Gurpreet Pal worried that life might pass him by.

Running barefoot to keep track of cattle along the banks of the Yamuna made Gurpreet a natural athlete. But the 16-yearold from village Shergarh Tapu in Karnal district of Haryana had not dreamt of a career in athletics till Kuldeep Singh, a government school teacher from a nearby village, spotted him.

Within just one-and-half years, Gurpreet, whose parents are daily wagers, attained the 3000m qualifying mark for the Youth World Championships at the national youth championships at Goa last month.

“I won bronze but a national coach informed me along with the gold and silver medallists, I had attained the qualifying mark for the Youth World Championships. He asked me to be ready with a passport and that we would be called for the national camp,” said Gurpreet, who took time to zero in on middle-distance running.

“In my first district event, which happened to be the Panchayat Yuva Krida/Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) meet in Karnal, I competed in all the races and finished first in 1500m and 3000m. At the state level, I was selected for the PYKKA nationals in 3000m and won bronze. It was then I realised that this suited me.”

Gurpreet’s performance in PYKKA caught the attention of the Haryana sports department coach Nasib Singh and he was selected to the department’s academy in Panchkula, which added fuel to his dream of donning national colours.

Now, uncertainty dogs him at every step. “After the academy shut down, I was left with no other option but to return to my village. Within a few days I realised it isn’t possible to train with the limited facilities here.

“My family’s fight for survival makes it impossible for them to provide me with the diet required for an athlete.

I decided to return to Panchkula but the cost of living is too high,” said Gurpreet, who now shuttles between Panchkula and his village, which is 135km away.

“Whenever money gets exhausted, I go back to the village and return after a few days.”

When contacted, KK Khandelwal, additional chief secretary, Haryana sports department, told HT, “To streamline the system, we have closed down some of the nurseries and academies. This is only for some time and we will be reopening them soon.”

It remains to be seen when that’ll happen but the delay could well snuff out Gurpreet’s hopes.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Saurabh Duggal is based in Chandigarh and has over 15 years experience as sports journalist. He writes on Olympic Sports.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Rebel Shiv MLAs celebrate after announcement of Eknath Shinde's name as the next chief minister of Maharashtra in Goa. (PTI Photo)

    Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde rebukes MLAs for dancing atop tables

    Deepak Kesarkar, an MLA who represents Sawantwadi, said that after his return from Mumbai on Thursday night, the newly sworn-in chief minister asked the MLAs to behave in a “more mature fashion”.

  • Soon after the HC’s ruling, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) chopped 98% of the 2,185 trees in that site (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

    Maharashtra: Metro-3 depot back in Aarey Colony

    In October 2019, the Bombay high court (HC) quashed a clutch of petition by environmentalists that sought to declare a 33-acre plot in the city’s green lung as a legal forest under the Indian Forest Act (1927). This patch was demarcated in 2013 to construct a car shed for the upcoming Metro 3 line.

  • Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. (HT photo by Vijayanand gupta/FILE)

    How Bal Thackeray handled rebellion in ranks

    If there is something that stands out in the rebellion led by Eknath Shinde and his predecessors like Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray, it is the way in which the Shiv Sena leadership and even the ordinary Shiv Sainik responded to the crisis. If in the past the grassroots workers rallied around Balasaheb Thackeray, Sena leaders today admit to a virtual paralysis that has set in the party following the mass desertions led by Eknath Shinde.

  • The Income Tax notice follows summons by the Enforcement Directorate to him in 2019 ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

    Sharad Pawar gets I-T notice over poll affidavits; terms it ‘love letter’

    Terming the notice as a “love letter”, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said it showed the qualitative difference with which central agencies act towards leaders of the opposition and those in the government.

  • Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra. (ANI)

    'Will ensure justice...': K'taka minister on reports of two sisters stripped

    Karnataka home minister Araga Janendra said Friday he had only just received information about an alleged assault on two women in Anekal, a town in Bengaluru district. The sisters were allegedly stripped and assaulted at their home for failing to pay a debt. Multiple media reports have said the police refused to file a complaint for two days and only did so after videos of the assault were widely shared online.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, July 02, 2022