Making of a Champion: ‘People barely think about hard times sportsmen undergo, they only talk of medals’

What makes an athlete a champion? To get an answer, Free Press reporter spent a day at the SAI, Bhopal, and talked to athletes of different disciplines

Minal TomarUpdated: Sunday, December 18, 2022, 12:58 AM IST
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Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Bhopal facility. |

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Only a few people talk about the circuitous rounds that sportsmen make to reach the summit, what most people remember is medals, say Sports Authority of India (SAI) Bhopal athletes.

What makes an athlete a champion? To get an answer, Free Press reporter spent a day at the SAI, Bhopal, and talked to athletes of different disciplines. Some said it was the sacrifice that turned an athlete into a champion, others said it was 24x7 hustle. Olympian Avtar Singh says, "A champion is someone who doesn’t regret anything and stands by his opinions."

Birmingham 2022 bronze medallist judoka Vijay Yadav

Birmingham 2022 bronze medallist judoka Vijay Yadav |

Need support

Birmingham 2022 bronze medallist judoka Vijay Yadav said, "Till now, no one has ever asked me about my journey. When I won, everyone just congratulated me for the medal, but if I hadn’t won, then no one would have talked about me. An athlete gets everything but only after winning a medal, no one cares about our hard work till we win. An athlete needs support and opportunity to perform. If the federations will become as disciplined as athletes are, then every athlete will get recognition."

Ajay Yadav

Ajay Yadav |

We work hard

The 26-year-old judoka Ajay Yadav said, "Every athlete has to prove himself to the world to get benefits, but why don’t we support our athletes before their triumph. There are many athletes that spend away their lives here. But they don't get a job or anything because they don't have enough medals."

Wushu player Rohit Jadhav

Wushu player Rohit Jadhav |

Financial aid

The 23-year-old Wushu player Rohit Jadhav, who is the son of an autorickshaw driver, said that when he started pursuing sports, he had to face financial constraints along with pressure to perform, which was very hard.

Seema and Ankita

Seema and Ankita |

Seema and Ankita, who recently won gold and silver medals in athletics at the National Games of India 2022, said that the hardest part of being an athlete was maintaining continuity of routine as they often move from one place to another for different purposes.

Aman Rathore

Aman Rathore |

The 17-year-old boxer Aman Rathore said that he had always been enthusiastic about the sport. He added, "Being a teenager, sometimes I feel like my routine is getting way too hard on myself, but what keeps me going is the urge to be the best player. I believe all an athlete needs is discipline in life."

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