Delhi-based sprinter Lokesh Kumar has been a victim of daily financial hardship, which has severely affected his ability to get the adequate dietary supplements necessary for an athlete’s endurance.
Several athletes have struggled to maintain their simple livelihoods. This has been true for Indian athletes not only for the past two years due to Covid-19, but for several decades.
Athletes give their blood and sweat to bring laurels to the nation. The amount the athletes receive in the prize money seems like a sufficient amount that would suffice for a short period of time, but ultimately it is not enough. It is certainly not enough for athletes to solve their personal problems while continuing their training and the eating habits necessary to stay in top shape.
Despite being a national medalist, Lokesh struggles to make ends meet
On top of the already devastating daily struggle, the coronavirus-induced lockdown has made it even worse. Lokesh’s food discipline, practice, and physical fitness were hampered due to financial difficulties.
Earlier this year, Lokesh won gold in the 200m at one of the national meets earlier this year. He also won silver medals in the 100m and 300m (U-16) events. Lokesh faced severe financial crisis in his daily life and it affected his training badly.
Lokesh Kumar: Financial difficulties caused daily struggles
Several athletes across the country continue to struggle to make ends meet for their families. Coming from a poor family, Lokesh’s father struggles to manage 2,500 rupees as income per month. Her mother also works as a housekeeper to contribute to the family’s needs.
He also described the challenges he faces as an athlete in coping with the essentials of the diet.
“My dad is a rickshaw puller and my mom used to work as a cleaner in bungalows. My mom’s income is around 2500 a month and my dad earns daily, so there is a specific monthly income, if we get food at one time, there is no guarantee we will get a meal the next day An athlete needs proper nutrition for his game but I can’t get it With the help of my coach, I have dried fruits to eat and he also provides me with necessary things to eat, but I am not able to have proper nutrition,” sprinter Lokesh told ANI.
His family situation also caused travel constraints, which affected his training.
“I have to travel far and I also need to spend money to have a good milk intake, so I have to reduce my travel budget, which I cannot afford. So I reduced my consumption of milk and I drink hot water as a substitute,” Lokesh added.
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Lokesh’s story is similar to ones we’ve heard or read about for years, in which some of our top athletes would struggle to meet their basic needs, let alone earn a decent living.