Dinesh Kumar from Haryana's Bhiwani has won 17 gold, one silver and five bronze medals in various competitions across the country and abroad. He was awarded with prestigious Arjuna Award in 2010. Today, Kumar, once dubbed as the rising boxing star, sells “kulfi” (ice-cream) on the streets of Bhiwani.
A video posted by news agency ANI shows the Kumar pushing a cart titled "Dinesh Kulfi", reflecting on his plight. While speaking to ANI, Kumar said he was forced to sell ice cream along with his father as no assistance came from the government's end. The 30-year-old Arjuna Awardee boxer now seeks a stable government job, adding that he could also train budding boxers.
Haryana: Dinesh Kumar, an international boxer and an Arjuna Awardee who hails from Bhiwani, now sells ice-creams for a living as well as to repay loan. He has won a total of 17 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze medals and is now seeking government's help. pic.twitter.com/4U3SSKB3hC— ANI (@ANI) October 28, 2018
"Right now, I have no hope that the government will provide me with monetary aid or employment. None of the political parties that have been in power since my accident have found me worth helping. I want to let the government know that I am wasting away here even though I am still a good sportsperson. I want to help my family pay off the debts they accumulated trying to further my career and then get back into the boxing ring," Kumar said.
My father took loan so that I could play at international tournaments. To repay the loan, I have to sell ice-creams with him. Neither the present nor the previous government helped me. I request the govt to help and give me a stable job: Dinesh Kumar. pic.twitter.com/6lQAOvtOmA— ANI (@ANI) October 28, 2018
Kumar’s plight began after he sustained an injury in a road accident. His father had to borrow money for his treatment. Kumar was later forced to become a kulfi vendor in order to repay the mounting interest on the debt.
"Dinesh won many laurels for India at competitions across the world, and our father took loan after loan to send him to England and other countries. He is lakhs in debt now, and that's why we are in this terrible state. There's no help coming from the government, and nobody even wants to know how we are doing. Things would have been very different if this had happened to someone else," said his elder brother.
The former sportsperson's coach, Vishnu Bhagwan, also urged the government to come to his aid. "Dinesh was very agile as a boxer. He won many medals in the junior category, but is now forced to sell kulfis on the streets because of a tragic accident. But he can still have a future, provided they help him," he told ANI.