From fighting at the Olympics to driving a taxi: The heartbreaking story of boxer Lakha Singh
What's the story?
1994 Hiroshima Asiad boxer Lakha Singh has come out to the public in expressing his displeasure at his current state of affairs even though he has brought laurels to the country through boxing.
Currently, a taxi driver in Ludhiana earning a petty 8000 rupees per month, the boxer is working day in and day out to make two ends meet for his family.
In case you didn't know
Lakha is a bronze-medal winner from the 1994 Hiroshima Asiad, clinching the medal after winning a knockout bout in the 81kg category. In addition to this, he also won the bronze medal in 1994 Asian Boxing Championship and a silver medal in the next edition of the same competition in 1999.
In 1994, after the Asiad, he joined the Indian Army as a jawaan at a raw age of just 19 and was part of the defensive unit during the Anti-Sikh riots.
Heart of the Matter
Lakha Singh came into prominence after consecutive medals in a span of two years labelling him as one of India's biggest hopes for a medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. However, he did not have the best of competitions and bagged the 17th place in the 91kg category.
In 1998, Singh and another boxer, Debender Thapa were scheduled to compete at the World Military Boxing Championship but slipped away from the airport and the duo was given the 'absconders' tag from the army.
Re-living his story which translated into their escape as one to start a professional boxing career in the United States, Singh mentioned that he never made it big and returned to his home state in 2006 but could no re-join the army as he had an 'absconding' tag on his head.
The five-time national champion was quipped saying that although he wrote many letters to the now-defunct Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), he did not receive any response and was forced to drive a taxi to make a living.
The 52-year-old's plight has been taken into the public's notice and it remains to see if the Boxing Federation makes changes to change his lifestyle.
It is saddening to see the plight of the Olympian and while he has a slight part of himself to blame, one can only hope that he sees a change in fortunes sometime soon.