Had it been some girl instead of Harish Kumar, various governments and corporates would've flooded her with cash prizes apart from other valuable gifts.
The trials and tribulations of an Indian athletes who have brought laurels to the nation at the 2018 Asian Games have been chronicled well since the conclusion of the continental games.
For many it has been a hero's journey; and though not having been easy, have taught valuable lessons in perseverance and keeping courage in the face of struggle.
One of those heroes is a lanky auto-rickshaw driver from Delhi, Harish Kumar. He won bronze medal at the Asian Games 2018 as part of the Indian Sepak Takraw team.
Every single day ahead of Asian Games, he would practice at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Delhi after performing his duties of a driver just so that he could make the squad.
Asian Games bronze medallist Harish Kumar is an autorickshaw driver in Delhi
He finally made it to the Indian team and went on to win a historic bronze medal. He is one of the youngest members of the squad and has worked immensely hard.
And he still has to sell tea at his father's shop to support his family.
Harish Kumar, a member of bronze winning Sepak Takraw team at #AsianGames sells tea at a shop that is run by his family, he says,"since there are more people at home and less people to earn, I sell tea. I want a job now so that I can support my family." #Delhi pic.twitter.com/YQw19bqFtC
"I have many family members and there is a very meagre source of income. I help my father at the tea shop to support my family. I dedicate four hours every day between 2 to 6 for my practice. For my future, I want to get a good job to support my family," Harish told ANI while at his small tea shop.
Talking about his struggles and initial association with the Sepak Takraw game, he said, "I started playing this sport from 2011. My coach Hemraj brought me into this sport. We also used to play with a tyre when my coach Hemraj spotted me and introduced me to the Sports Authority of India (SAI). Thereafter I started receiving monthly funds and kits. I practice every day and will keep on doing it to bring more laurels for my country".
His father is an auto driver and we have a tea stall which is run with Harish's help. We are poor but we never let that demotivate him in his journey. I would like to thank the govt and his coach for their support: Indira Devi, Mother of Harish Kumar #Delhi pic.twitter.com/DtKmSavCVf
ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018
Harish's mother, Indira Devi also talked to ANI about adversities under which she supported her son to pursue the game.
She said, "I have brought up my kids with a lot of struggle. His father is an auto-driver and we have a small tea shop. My son also works at tea shop to assist his father. I am very thankful to the government for providing food and accommodation to my son. I am very thankful to his coach Hemraj who has supported my kid to achieve this accomplishment."
We are very poor&I would like to congratulate him for making the country proud. Our coach Hemraj Sir spotted us&called us to play. SAI had also helped us a lot. I would like to thank CM Kejriwal for announcing Rs50 lakh&Sports Ministry for giving Rs5 lakh: Brother of Harish Kumar pic.twitter.com/egdPmb1FZB
ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018
Harish's brother, Dhawan also expressed his gratitude for the government support and requested for a government job for his brother.
He said, "There were times when we did not have money to pay our rent. His coach Hemraj took him under his training and admitted him to the stadium. Later Sports Authority of India supported us by giving monthly finances and sports kits... and I also urge the government to give my brother a government job so that he can support our family."
India registered their best ever medal tally (69) at the 18th edition of the Asian Games in Indonesia.