GUWAHATI: He won medals for his outstanding performance in swimming at the national level but sells tea to make a living.
Forty-Seven-Year-old Gopal Prasad Yadav from Bihar has been through hell in the past 20 years. Having represented the state at the national-level swimming championships, he does not even have money to feed his family.
This is a dreadful situation of Gopal, who has brought respect and medals for Bihar at the national and state level.
Gopal who once dreamt of becoming an international swimmer now has to sell tea due to his poor financial condition. He named his shop as National Swimmer Tea stall.
On being enquired about the name of his tea stall, Gopal said that it highlights the life of all athletes in our country and he hopes that it will make people and the government makes aware about the condition of national level swimmer who makes his living by selling tea.
Gopal has represented Bihar in the national aquatic championship held at Thiruvananthapuram in 1989. He was the part of the team which went to Thiruvananthapuram to represent Bihar and won a few medals but couldn’t help him enough to provide a healthy lifestyle and proper education to his children.
Speaking to ANI Gopal said, “Swimming is an expensive sport. I did not have enough money to join a swimming club. I used to practise in the Ganga but it became difficult to practise for long due to the level of pollution in the water. On several occasions, I gulped dirty water during practice, which was harmful for the body.”
His financial condition nose-dived in such a way that he even tried pulling rikshaw but couldn’t continue it as he wanted a life of dignity and respect.
Gopal has not given up hope and is training his son Sunny. “My ultimate ambition is to see my son excel as a swimmer. I take him to the Ganga every morning to hone his skills. I want him to achieve all that I could not,” said Gopal.
*This is a series looking into the lives of sports persons who have been forgotten by time and the government