Food and sanitisation for the needy: Indian athletes answer the call

Indian athletes, past and present, have been playing their part to help the less fortunate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Indian women’s welterweight boxer, Lovlina Borgohain, who qualified for the Tokyo Games last month, has been doing her bit in her hometown in Golaghat, Assam to help numerous underprivileged families during the coronavirus lockdown.

Lovlina urges others to aid the needy

“I was raised here (Golaghat) and there are many who are facing difficulties, some of them are not getting food. I felt we should aid them,” Lovlina’s Borgohain told the Indian Express. “My father also helped me, everyone in my family supported me.”

The Indian boxer with the help of her father Tiken Borgohain has provided ration for more than 200 families in the Barpathar area so far and she has been asking others to join the cause through social media.

“I’m telling everyone on social media to join the cause. There are many people who are willing to help but are unable to do the same. I’ve been posting videos on Facebook and Instagram,” the 22-year-old pugilist said.

Bhokanal wields fertiliser sprayer instead of rowing paddle

Dattu Baban Bhokanal is another athlete that has joined the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the Indian rower has opted for a more hands-on approach.

The Asian Games gold medal winner has been seen on the frontline in his village Talegaon Ruhi carrying out sanitisation drives using a fertiliser sprayer from home, originally intended for agriculture use.

India's Dattu Baban Bhokanal competes during the Men's Single Sculls Quarterfinal at Rio 2016

"Me, my family and some friends decided to sanitise the village, which has a population of about 12,000," Dattu Baban Bhokanal told the Press Trust of India over the phone.

The 29-year-old, who had qualified at Rio 2016, has teamed up with his father as well as brother and they intend to carry out sanitization drives twice a week.

"Sanitisation of any area is important to keep the virus at bay. For example, when a person visits a doctor's clinic, he might touch the pole or the walls inside that clinic,” the Asian Championships silver medallist pointed out. “Therefore, we thought sanitisation of the clinic was essential along with several other places."

"We sanitised the places people frequent like the government clinic, veterinary clinic, gram panchayat office, its gates," said Dattu Baban Bhokanal, whose family has also helped sanitise medical shops, temples and the local vegetable market.

Gagan, Rajpal Singh and hockey fraternity play their part

Meanwhile, former forward of the Indian hockey men’s team, Gagan Ajit Singh – now an employee with Punjab Police in Amritsar – has been distributing food parcels and is entrusted with maintaining law and order in his area.

His former captain in the men’s hockey team, Rajpal Singh – also with Punjab police – has also been in charge of maintaining order.

“Many hockey players approached me and said that they want to contribute in providing food to the underprivileged,” Rajpal Singh told the Hindustan Times. “We have identified 30 families that will contribute funds to feed the needy.”

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Chandigarh, the Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) that has produced golfers like Jeev Milkha Singh and Shubhankar Sharma, has been providing meals for the needy.

About 600 meals are prepared daily and distributed locally. The club management has also distributed dry ration and money to the 200 caddies that are registered with the club.