Good Sports: Athlete's Village
Long distance runner Ratiram Saini of Rajasthan, who won a bronze medal in the 10,000-meter race at the 20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune last month, lives in a hut with his extended family. “My parents, my wife and kids and my brother’s family somehow manage in that hut of ours. … A decent house is all I dream of,” he told Mumbai Mirror.
His living conditions underscore the challenges faced by Indian athletes as they try to compete against rivals from countries with well-funded sports programs. It’s a credit to Saini and others that they have overcome the challenges to bring glory to their country. Indian athletes won two gold, five silver and 10 bronze medals at the Asian Championships, second only to China.
While Saini dreams of living in a comfortable house, he also believes that his underprivileged background helped prepare him for running.
“We are born to work hard,” he said. “I used to work with my father in the farms, take the animals out for grazing in the mountains. We are physically and mentally very strong. Those living in air-conditioned homes don’t take up long distance running, it’s always those from poor backgrounds who do so.”
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