Umerkote: A weightlifter from Odisha with two international gold medals has taken to cultivation for want of government help, a report said.
The man was identified as Arun Santa, an international weightlifter and a native of Telari village under this block in Nabarangpur district. Santa represented the country twice at two international sports meet and won gold in the events.
He has also won several medals by participating in various national meets. He was aiming to bring more laurels for the country by participating in Olympic games but his career was cut short due to lack of financial assistance from the government.
He was preparing to participate in various national meets when COVID-19 epidemic struck the globe and poured cold water on his plans. As a result, he left Bhubaneswar and came back to his native village where he took to cultivation for a livelihood by working on others’ farmlands. He hopes to return to his game if the government provides him with financial assistance.
Reports said that Arun studied from Class 1 till Class 11 at Tarakanad School in Jharigaon. Later, he joined an Ashram School at Badabharandi where he studied from Class-IV till Class-VII.
Later, his flair for weightlifting came to notice following which he joined the Sports Hostel in Berhampur and undertook training in the event. The training helped him hone his skills in weightlifting and participate in many national and international events.
Fate smiled on him when he was chosen to participate at the Asian Championship held at Myanmar and later at Commonwealth Youth Games at New Zealand where he won two gold medals. Arun also participated at national level meets at New Delhi, Haryana and Maharashtra and won gold and bronze medals.
His main aim was to participate in Olympics Games but his hopes were shattered as he failed to get any financial assistance from the government.
Later, he worked for some time at a gymnasium in Bhubaneswar to earn a living. However, he was left without any money after the gymnasium was shut down due to COVID-19 induced lockdown and subsequent shutdowns. He came back to his native village during the lockdown and took up cultivation to earn a living. He wishes to establish a sports academy in Umerkote but lack of funds has hindered his plan.
When contacted, Arun said there are many talented children in his area who if provided with proper training could bring laurels for the country. He lamented that he could not study more due to his involvement in sports. He said he could do more for the country if the Centre or state government provided him with financial help.