Dilraj Kaur, who came to be recognized as the first international level para shooters in the 15 years since she started in the sport in 2005, is dealing with financial hardships.
Dilraj, 34, now sells biscuits and chips along with her mother from a roadside stall near Gandhi Park in Dehradun to make her ends meet.
“I started para shooting in 2004 and have so far won 28 gold, 8 silver, and 3 bronze medals on the national level and have played some international games also,” said Kaur.
“I thought there will be some light in my house because I have won medals for India, but maybe that wasn’t meant to be. When it was the country’s need, I was there but now when I am in need, there is no one. Our financial state is very bad, which is the reason why we are being forced to sell biscuits and chips to make ends meet,” she said.
Dilraj said that she has received no help from Uttarakhand’s para-shooting community. She said that she is asking for a government job based on the sports quota. “I have appealed for a job based on my achievement in sports several times, but nothing has happened,” she said.
She lost her father in 2019, who was suffering from kidney problems, and her brother also died the same year. She is living in a rented house in Dehradun’s Govindgarh.
“My father died in 2019 after a prolonged illness. My brother also died recently. We had to spend a lot of money on their treatment. We had even taken loans for that. Now, My mother and I live in a rented apartment. We pay rent and EMIs from our mother’s pension,” she added.
Dilraj Kaur’s mother, Gurdeep Kaur, was offered a government job in 2011, but she turned down the job offer saying that her dependent daughter Dilraj should be given the job.
Kaur has participated in the Taiwan World Games in 2007 and World Games in Croatia in 2015. She won the silver medal at the 2009 World Games in Bengaluru.