By Monjib Mochahari, #First published in YouthKiAwaaz | April 5, 2017
It’s a shame how Gohela Boro, a national level archer, who has made Assam proud by winning 72 medals in various national, state and district level archery competitions, is now fighting for her life without any assistance from the government. Till recently, Gohela Boro was a popular household name in Assam for her remarkable achievements.
However, her fate took a different turn when she was diagnosed with a disease whose treatment is proving too expensive her family to afford. After bringing glory to the state several times, Gohela is now battling for life with little or no hope.
Gohela has been suffering since November 2016. She had been advised to consult doctors in the departments of rheumatology and clinical immunology, either in AIIMS, Delhi, or the Apollo Hospital in Chennai. However, neither she nor her family could afford the required treatment, due to their poor financial conditions.
“It is very shameful that even when there are hundreds of government hospitals across the state, this talented sportsperson, who brought glory to Assam, has to suffer inhuman conditions because no one comes to her rescue. Gohela stands as a symbol of our pride, our talent and our dignity. The government must come forward to help before her health deteriorates further,” her friends from the village state.
Gohela hails from the New Amguri village in Kokrajhar, a district which has been in the news in recent times for producing many sports personalities. She started her career in archery at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Kokrajhar in 2008. In the nine years of her sporting career, she has won 72 medals at various national, state and district level archery competitions.
Her most recent achievement was at the National Games of Kerala, India, in 2015. She had won 13 gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals at the national level, 11 gold and nine bronze medals at the state level, 10 gold and two bronze medals in the district level, among others. She had also won four gold medals – three in individual events and one in a team event – at the 60th National School Games held in Guwahati in 2015. She was even selected to represent India in international events. However, she could not participate due to her illness.
This is not the first time that talented sports personalities are facing cruel realities in Assam. Five-time national gold medal winner, Lilabati Daimary, who hails from Assam’s Baksa district, was forced to work recently as a daily labourer due to poverty. Similarly, with no financial help coming her way, Buli Basumatary had been forced to become a street vendor to support her family. She had been the national champion at both the junior and senior levels, till injuries forced her to stay away from the sport.
“It is unfortunate that many of our talented sportsperson have to navigate between poverty and sporting careers. In most cases, they have to give up their passion for sports. The Sports Ministry and authorities must provide better financial incentives to promote sporting talents in the country. Sports personalities deserve better services and incentives to excel in sports and the physical arts. The government can’t remain blind to these shocking incidents,” says a football coach in Guwahati.