From Gold To Plastic - The Tale Of An Orphaned Sports Hero!
Karnataka Today|December 2017

Harsha Raj Gatty and Vineet V.V meet Geetha Bai, an award winning power lifter who has been reduced to selling plastic to make ends meet. Oh! The plight of our sports heroes!

Harsha Raj Gatty And Vineet V.V
For the second year in a row, International power lifter Geetha Bai has been denied the coveted Karnataka Rajyotsava award. The 42-year old who once represented the Indian power lifting contingent abroad and bagged gold, silver and bronze medals, both at National and State events, is now reduced to selling plastic carry-bags at the Mangaluru fish market to make ends meet.

Assurances, promises and felicitations accorded by those in position of power have no meaning, she says as most of the benefits have never reached her. However, Geetha says that she was much pained by the fact that she also lost out on receiving the Karnataka Rajyothsava award, as she had pinned high hopes on it to overcome her financial difficulties. “Late September, a person claiming to be from one of the award committees confirmed that I will be receiving the award this year and even took my name and address. But then there was no news from them. Late October I was told that Sahana Kumari (High Jump) will be feted at the ceremony in Bengaluru,” she said.

With a sporting spirit, Geetha says that she has no qualms that Sahana received the award. “I am happy for her and she undoubtedly deserves it. The award committee member later called me and apologized for the gaffe, but the damage was done and all I could do is advise the same official not to play such a cruel joke on anyone else. I had really hoped that the monetary gains from the award would help me provide higher education for my three nephews,” she says. Following the death of her brother Harish, Geetha is the sole custodian of Kiran (18), Preetham (17), Preetu (16).

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