Lucknow: From being a gold medallist in the National Weightlifting Championships in 1996 to staging a protest outside Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha for employment, Meenakshi Rani`s heart-wrenching story is one among the many athletes who have faded into oblivion due to poverty.
At a time when athletes are being showered with awards and accolades, Meenakshi is facing a severe financial crunch and her family on the brink of starvation.
Add to her woes, the mother of two is facing the brunt of state government`s apathy after being assured of a job by sports minister Narad Rai and sports consultant Ramvriksh Yadav.
The weightlifter, who did the country proud on a number of occasions including Asian junior and senior weightlifting championship, has warned of committing suicide, along with her two children, if the promised job was not provided to her within 10 days.
"My fate has betrayed me so much that I was forced to stage a dharna in front of Vidhan Sabha. If employment was not provided to me within 10 days as promised by the government, I would be left with no other option but to commit suicide with my two children," Meenakshi told PTI here on Sunday.
Meenakshi had won a bronze medal in Asian junior and senior weightlifting championship held in Delhi in April 1999. Besides, she had won silver in national championship in 1995, overall gold in national championship in 1996 and silver in the same event in Madhya Pradesh in 1998.
At that time, she was accorded a heroic status but a tragic accident in 2011 changed her world completely.
"In an accident in 2011, my husband Deepak Saini died and I injured one of my legs and lost the job. My house was sold to meet the treatment expenses. Let alone the roof over my head, we are facing problems even to feed ourselves," said Meenakshi, who hails from Bareilly in UP and worked as a SAI coach between 2007 to 2011 at Firozabad.
"I met sports minister Narad Rai on September 18 and Ramvriksh Yadav. Both assured me that I would soon get a job but nothing has been done so far," she added.
Meenakshi said the future of her two children - a 10-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter, looks uncertain without a proper job and she has even requested the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to consider her case on a humanitarian ground.
She received a coaching certificate from Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports at Patiala in the year 2005-2006.
"I would be grateful to SAI if they consider me for the coaching job for the second time," she said.