Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 23
The struggles of life should have dissipated a long time ago for polio-hit lifter Ramandeep Kaur, instead the baggage has only gotten heavier with time.
In spite of having two international golds to her credit – in Commonwealth Para Powerlifting Championship and Benchpress Championship in 2017 – she has to push herself every single day to survive.
There was a time when the 32-year-old made a wave in the news. That was back in 2018-19 when her performances, unable to yield any reward or recognition from the government, she bade Navjot Singh Sidhu and Rana Gurmeet Sodhi to bestow a cash prize at least in order to ease the weight on her shoulders. But as destiny would have it, nothing ever happened. Following this, sans any government help, she had participated in international tournaments taking loan from her relatives and mortgaging her gold ornaments.
Hailing from Ghorewahi village near Bhogpur here, she says, “I have applied several times for the job of coach in powerlifting but got no response. For any other government job, I needed graduation which I completed in 2013. I have also done courses in accounting and Tally. But my sporting achievements, disability certificate or SC category status have so far proved useless of date and I continue to live my life in penury.” Recently, she also applied for the job of Naib Tehsildar and is still waiting for a “response”.
Till the last few years, she had set up a gym at her place for private coaching. “Two boys who trained under me made it to Punjab Police in the sports quota. I myself never had a coach to help me practice in the 82 kg category contests which I used to take part in. So, at that time I had thought that till I get a job, I will continue giving private coaching and make a small earning. But I had to discontinue that as well,” she shares.
Today, Ramandeep lives in a 50-yard house and runs a small shop selling sweets, chips and biscuits. Already upset with the government’s indifference, another personal setback pried open the wounds. “I got a baby boy in January this year. But I lost him in April owing to an unexplained disease,” she tells, before her mind darted back to the unforgettable day, “he was crying a lot one day and we took him to a private hospital, where he died.” The infant was suffering from a heart disease. “I could not come out of the shock for at least four months. My parents got me to Ludhiana so that I don’t plunge into depression and could restart my life.”
Her husband is now working for a factory here as she runs the shop to make ends meet. And in the 50-yard house, there is unquestionably no room for gym equipments. “It is all getting corroded in my Jalandhar house,” she adds, then is sucked into a numbing muse, “I now feel that my stint in the game and time as coach is over and will have to move on like that with struggles being a part and parcel of my life.”