On Wednesday, January 13, Special Olympics gold medallist Rajvir Singh took his last breath after battling a brain-related ailment for over a month in Ludhiana. He lost his life not just due to the illness but also due to extreme poverty as he waited for the ₹30 lakh cash reward promised by the SAD-BJP government in 2015 and then by the current ruling dispensation for the past six months.
The Logical Indian reported on the cyclist's untimely death. After the incident was reported, Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi announced financial assistance for Rajvir's family. In a statement, the minister said that senior officials of the department have been asked to hand over financial assistance of ₹5 lakhs to the next family members of the deceased Olympic athlete.
According to Business World, Sodhi while expressing grief over the cyclist's death said that matter of providing financial assistance had come to the notice of the sports department about five months back and since then, the department had started the process of providing financial assistance to him. On July 25, 2020, Capt Amarinder Singh promised him support in a video posted on Twitter. However, no such help was extended in the last six months.
It is important to take note of the fact that considering the challenges faced by such disabled athletes, aid should have been prioritised by the state government. Timely measures would have instilled faith in such athletes and their families who surmount the odds in an effort to make the nation proud.
"For five years after he won the two gold medals in 2015, we were only given promises. First the Badals, then Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress leaders such as Navjot Singh Sidhu, everyone promised to help and get my son's pending cash prize amount released but no one did anything. Politicians and governments dishonoured my son's achievement. We ran from pillar to post — from CM's office to district administration offices in Ludhiana — but my son died without getting his due honour and prize money. The governments and politicians must remember that we were not begging or asking for any favour, it was my son's right," Rajvir's father had said.
Also Read: Special Olympic Gold Medallist Dies In Poverty As Punjab CM Fails To Deliver On Promise