Neglected by the Government, kickboxer resorts to crowdfunding
The past two decades have seen tremendous growth in combat sports across the globe. One of the main reasons behind this is the new perspective it displayed with Mixed Martial Arts coming to prominence.
Today, it is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and PPV buys of mega fights are selling out like never before.
This new trend has bolstered the revival of martial arts and there's a significant rise in people congregating towards dojos to sign up.
India also got exposed to this evolution in combat sports, and traditional rooftop martial arts classes have become sophisticated facilities to forge state of the art athletes.
Some of these athletes are of world-class caliber and brought glory to the nation and their sport, but unfortunately, they are still destined to be far from the limelight.
One such high-level athlete is Paul Dickson from the state of Kerala, who has been selected for the upcoming Asian Kickboxing Confederation championship 2018, which is going to be held in Kyrgyzstan, next month.
He was selected based on his performance in the National Kickboxing Championship held at Hyderabad 2018, where he secured a Gold Medal in the 71kg full contact division.
He has previously participated in many international tournaments including World Pankration (amateur MMA) Championship 2017 Sochi Russia and won a silver medal.
He has also secured a bronze medal in Asian Kickboxing championship 2017 held in Turkmenistan.
He is a high-level athlete with great potential who can inspire young kids to take up sports and bring glory to the nation and the sport of Kickboxing.
But the possibility of him making it to Kyrgyzstan for the Asian Kickboxing Confederation championship is bleak because of the severe deficit of funds for travel and other expenses.
And government officials are not funding him because kickboxing is not a sport which comes under the Indian Olympic Council.
All his efforts to get the cost covered by the government has been turned down by officials and his plans are in jeopardy.
He has now resorted to crowdfunding to meet the expenses required for travel and accommodation.
If he doesn't make it to Kyrgyzstan next week, it will set a very bad precedent for the young kids taking up the sport of kickboxing in India, and it will cement the preconceived notion that combat sports hold no future.
Paul is just one among many high-level kickboxers who have resorted to crowdfunding after officials denied them funds.
Karate has been added in 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and in the future combat sports including kickboxing can make it to the list.
Boxers and wrestlers have brought glory to the nation by accepting several accolades at the international level including the Olympics.
In the future, other combat athletes including Karateka's and Kickboxers will also repeat the same.
But this dangerous trend of athletes being deprived of basic funds and opting for crowdfunding as a means to meet their expenses for competing in fights is damaging to the growth of combat sports like Kickboxing in India.