Sita Sahu, is a double Special Olympics medalist from India. Originally from Madhya Pradesh, she was barely fifteen when she won bronze medals in the 200m and 4X400m relay race events held in 2011 during the Special Olympics in Athens.From Chaat stalls to the Olympics race track, this sportswoman from Madhya Pradesh, has come a long way.
SPORTING PRODIGIES – Sita Sahu:
Sachin Tendulkar first played for India when he was only fifteen and a half years old. Paddler Tomokazu Harimoto, who’s been all over the news in the past 2-3 months, beat World No.5 Timo Boll to clinch the 2017 Czech Open.
Why is that special? Let me remind you, he is only 14. Now and then, we keep coming across sporting prodigies who take the whole world by surprise. However, have you heard of another Indian sporting prodigy, a sportswoman from Madhya Pradesh, named Sita Sahu? Probably not. Well, let’s have a look at a life of our very own Olympic champion.
Sita Sahu is double Special Olympic medalist. Originally from Madhya Pradesh, she was barely fifteen when she won bronze medals in the 200m and 4X400m relay race events held in 2011 during the Special Olympics in Athens.
HAPPINESS SHORT LIVED for SITA SAHU
Born in a street vendor family in Rewa, mentally challenged Sita has uncountable ups and downs in her short career of 7 years. There were two Cinderella moments in Sita’s life. First when she accompanied seven other kids to Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s residence on June 8, 2011, for tea with the chief minister.
Less than a month later, came the crowning glory when she returned home on July 6, 2011, from Athens with two bronze medals from the special games.
Usha Sahu, Sita’s trainer and teacher from Rewa, transformed her life. It was during a sports event in Sneha School for the Mentally Challenged that Usha spotted the shy and reticent 13-year-old who stumbled while walking but sprinted like a colt. She gradually molded her pupil who made it to the state and national level competitions.
On the other hand, she has seen the most woeful days of her life. Her career hit a roadblock when she had to return to her family business, the golgappa stall. Her family on an average earned Rs 150-180 a day. She had completely given up her sporting career to make ends meet for her family. State officials and other members of the athletics fraternity neglected her and her Sahu’s life dwindled.. Her family’s financial strife brought her career to a complete standstill as Sahu, along with her three siblings was making the base for their chaats in their one-room house in Dhobia Tanki.
She wasn’t awarded the cash prizes she was promised, even after winning Olympics medals. Social justice minister Gopal Bhargava had announced Rs 1 lakh for gold, Rs 75,000 for silver and Rs 50,000 for bronze. “Thus Sita was entitled to Rs 1 lakh. But nothing came her way despite several reminders while the CM rewarded Olympic winner from Haryana Sushil Kumar,” lamented Coach Masood.
Usha once stated that convincing Sita’s parents was the most difficult hurdle. “When she won two bronze medals, they waited for the cash incentives announced, only to be disheartened. Any mention of her past makes the family fly into a rage. Hence I don’t broach the topic,” she said.
HAPPY HOMECOMING for SITA SAHU
Sita believes that she is living a dream and was happy to return to athletics. “We had no money. My career was over, and I couldn’t even think of pursuing studies given my family responsibilities. All that has changed now,” asserted Sita who returned to athletics soon after receiving the payment.
She also said, unlike the yester years, she is now receiving a lot of guidance from state athletes and coaches. Though she missed out on the 2015 Los Angeles World Games berth but is content with her abilities so far.
Her brothers, who once helped her in making golgappas have also resumed studies.
Sita’s father, who was once a daily wage labourer, has now expanded their chaat business with a concrete shop.