Even as the entire nation is celebrating the achievements of the Indian athletes in the recently-concluded Asian Games, Harish Kumar, a bronze medallist in Sepaktakraw, is back to selling tea at his father's roadside stall in Delhi's Majnu-ka-Tilla.
"I have many family members and there is a very meagre source of income. I help my father at the tea shop to support my family. I dedicate four hours every day between 2 to 6 for my practice. For my future, I want to get a good job to support my family," Harish told ANI while working at his small tea shop.
Grateful to the SAI and the government
Harish also spoke about the struggles when he started off playing the game and thanked his coach for introducing him to the sport.
"My coach Hemraj brought me into this sport. We also used to play with a tyre when my coach Hemraj spotted me and introduced me to the Sports Authority of India (SAI)," He added.
Harish also added that he did receive support from the SAI which included monthly funds and a kit. His mother thanked the government for taking care of his preparation and accommodation when he was training for the games.
"I am very thankful to the government for providing food and accommodation to my son. I am very thankful to his coach Hemraj who has supported my kid to achieve this accomplishment," she said.
Harish's brother Dhawan also thanked the government for allocating funds, but at the same time asked the government to give his brother a job so that he can take care of his family.
"There were times when we did not have money to pay our rent. His coach Hemraj took him under his training and admitted him to the stadium. Later Sports Authority of India supported us by giving monthly finances and sports kits... and I also urge the government to give my brother a government job so that he can support our family," Harish's brother said.