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HomeHimachal PradeshHarjeet Kumar: A talented sportsman with shattered dreams

Harjeet Kumar: A talented sportsman with shattered dreams

Sourabh Sood | TNR


A sportsman of world-class calibre, from a tiny town in Himachal, is desperately seeking to establish himself in his chosen sport, martial arts, even as India rejoices over the stellar performance in the Tokyo Olympics by the Indian Olympic team.

A player who did not get his due

Harjeet Kumar, who has won several titles in martial arts on an international level, has never got his due in India simply because of the pathetic treatment meted out to many talented players by authorities concerned.

He was not fortunate enough to get the patronage of the likes of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who has never held back from spending crores for those in the men and women hockey team of India.

The small hilly state of Himachal has neither the infrastructure nor the necessary investment for a sport like martial arts to flourish.

He sees a ray of hope

Harjeet, who has had to face several disappointments and hurdles in face of government rules, now sees a ray of hope in the new Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.

The bright side is that Thakur, who has been waxing eloquent about ‘New India’, has not only won the elections from a seat in Himachal but is also a great sports lover.

Seeing this as an opportunity to boost his sagging morale, Harjeet has now written to the minister through his Facebook page as a last resort.

Heroes that his talent has not been appreciated and recognised by his own country.

Forced to live on daily wages

Hailing from an ordinary family in Badua village, Baijnath, Harjeet is the only martial arts player in Himachal to have won national and international competitions.

These achievements have been an uphill struggle for Harjeet, despite dedicating himself to the game for almost a decade and continues to date.

While the state government showers crores of rupees on national and international achievers in other sports, Harjeet has received nothing. So much so that today he is forced to work on daily wages to feed his family.

2 silver medals in an international event, many national awards in his kitty

The journey has not been easy for Harjeet as his participation in international competitions was not sponsored.

He managed to participate in the World martial arts competition held in South Africa in 2016 and the United States in 2017 with the help of a media house in Himachal, during which he won two silver medals for India.

He has also won several medals at the national level like the Dr BR Ambedkar national award in 2016, National martial arts award in 2017, Young Mind award in 2018, Asia excellence award in 2019 and the Corona warriors award in 2020.

Ambulance driver during Corona pandemic

Though he could not fulfil his childhood dream of becoming a doctor, he rushes to help sick people whenever called to do so.

The pandemic saw him rushing to help the sick. While the entire state was under lockdown, he rendered his services at a Covid centre.

He took on the job of an ambulance driver at Paprola Covid hospital, two months back when the second wave of Covid-19 was at its peak, helping several infected people reach the hospital.



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