Former Indian hockey goalkeeper Ashok Diwan, who is stranded in the USA following the travel restrictions imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, is seeing his medical condition improve gradually following a timely intervention by the Indian authorities.
The goalkeeper of the Indian hockey team that won the 1975 World Cup, India’s only world title till date, was visiting his son in Sacramento, California and was to fly back on April 20 when the pandemic forced the American authorities to impose the flying ban.
But with his health deteriorating, the 65-year-old reached out to the Sports Ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for help.
He was suffering from high levels of anxiety and blood pressure.
The Sports Ministry, following a request from the IOA, took it upon itself to ensure that the veteran player received medical attention at the earliest.
“India’s Ambassador called me up on WhatsApp when I was still sleeping. It was a big thing, a pleasant surprise. The Indian sports ministry had informed him about my illness,” Ashok Diwan was quoted as saying by the Outlook.
A doctor was arranged by the embassy as well.
“On Friday, I felt a little pain in my heart and consulted the doctor. He added one more medicine to the two I have been taking for blood pressure and gastric issues. I have got the medicine for one month. But overall, I felt better on Friday compared to how I was a few days ago.”
Ashok Diwan reaches out for help
In a letter addressed to the IOA president Narinder Batra, Ashok Diwan had said: “I am not feeling well these days, moreover I don’t have any insurance here. As you know the medical costs are very high here,” the Press Trust of India reported.
He requested the message to be forwarded to the Sports Minister and the External Minister to urge the Indian embassy in San Francisco to aid him with a check-up or get him back to India.
Apart from his contribution in helping the Indian hockey team win the 1975 World Cup, Ashok Diwan was also a part of the team that participated in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
He is one of the three athletes who received the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games from the central government in its inaugural year in 2002.