The Indian wrestler spoke in front of the media about her discontent with the AAP government.

Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Divya Kakran expressed her disappointment against the Delhi government for not providing any financial support to the athlete. Kakran spoke to the press on Thursday about the tussle with the government.

“First of all, I wanna thank you all for taking out time and coming here to listen to what I want to say, secondly I’d like to speak first and then I’ll be answering all of your questions.”

“We came to Delhi in 2001, I was born in 1998. I was born in the Purbaliyan village (Uttar Pradesh). I have been living in Delhi since and started wrestling at a very young age in and around 2006-07. My father sells langots and we’re three siblings and our father has helped our wrestling pursuits by selling langots.”

“We’ve been living in Gokulpuri for the last 21 years in a rented house and despite our bad financial situation, my father encouraged me to pursue wrestling.”

“I used to wrestle with boys for money. There was a time when we had to go for bouts, we had to sit in the area beside the toilet in the train because we couldn’t afford a ticket. We used to travel like this to various venues like Jhansi, Itawa for competitions. I had to wrestle with boys because I didn’t get any money wrestling with girls.” 

“It was I think during 2009-10 that I first went to play at the State level. However, one of the sirs gave me a thousand rupees and said that I was too young to fight. I represented Delhi in State level competition for the first time in 2011 and won. I then went on to qualify for the nationals, at Nirvana and I have certificates to prove that and I got a bronze medal there. Then after that, I came second in Pune representing Delhi in 2012. Then I wrestled in the school nationals in 2013 and I came first there. I fought in the sub-junior level in the same year and got gold there as well.”

“Up until 2017, I have continuously won medals for Delhi – 58 medals in total which comprises numerous gold, silver and bronze medals.”

“I have worked so hard, my dad has worked so hard for me that I have reached this level from the financial situation we were in. We were so poor that we had to endure traffic of more than 2-3 hours on the public bus to reach the Akhara.”

“It was around 2015 when I went to the Asian Cadet Championship which was held in Delhi representing the state. The proof of that is available in the news article related to the event. I got a gold medal there but then no one from the Delhi government came to our house to acknowledge the fact that a girl from such a poor household had come first in the Asian Cadet Championship. I’m telling you there were so many wrestlers from Haryana and other places but only Divya Kakran had got a gold medal.”

“No one else came to acknowledge the feat but only Manoj Tiwari Ji came to congratulate me and he gave me three lakh rupees. The money that he gave me was so helpful. My mother had pawned her wedding necklace for me and I bought that back with the money that he gave me.”

“In 2017, I fought in the Senior Asian Championship and got a medal at such a young age in the Asian Senior Championship and also became the first woman to bring a silver medal in the Asian Senior Championship. I had a competitive fight with the 2016 Rio gold medallist, that girl who was from Japan.”

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“Even after that, I didn’t receive any encouragement or word of appreciation from the Delhi government. There is a limit to patience and we were all so upset back at home that I asked my dad if he told us that if we did well in wrestling, we’ll get recognition and our financial situation will also improve but we still don’t have good clothes or even good food. It was after this that my dad finally said that we’ll represent UP from now on.”

“I have received more encouragement and help from the UP government in the last three years than I have from the Delhi government in all the years I represented Delhi. The UP govt felicitated me with the Rani Lakshmibai Award in 2019, ensured a pension of 20,000 for me owing to my financial condition in 2020 and they also recently announced a reward of 50 lakhs and a govt. job for the Commonwealth Games medallists yesterday. If the UP government can do all this in just three years, why didn’t the Delhi govt do anything for me?”

“I tried meeting Arvind Kejriwal, but it wasn’t possible for a long time because every time I tried, I was told to get an appointment and I’ve pleaded with a lot of people to help me get an appointment with him.”

“We met Arvind Kejriwal in 2018 and I talked about my financial difficulties. I told him that I had to bear the expenditure of the house and asked if the govt could provide some sort of help to which he asked what kind of help. We told him that the whole family was dependent on me and that no one else had any sort of a govt. job and I was the only one who was able to taste even a little bit of success in the sport.”

“I asked him to help me till the Asian Games which will happen the next month (now postponed to next year). I told him that he could help me out with the supply of my dietary requirements such as badams, proteins, etc because the supply of such things was very irregular for me. He asked me to give this in writing and we did so but then did not receive any response after that from his side. We did not receive any mail, calls or anything. When we called he said we’ll surely provide you with help but when?” 

“I did not get any sort of help and then after I got a medal in the Asian Games, I was called and appreciated saying how I was an inspiration for a lot of young kids but then what was the use of this?”

“Now I am seeing a lot of tweets saying you fight for the country and not for money. When we prepare for wrestling in utter poverty, there are times when there is a shortage of vegetables as well. Working out requires proper nutrition and sometimes it takes its toll on our body and we get injuries as well.”

“I had a leg injury in 2016 and no one came to help me. Brother Harish Chaudhary gave us one lakh rupees and with that, I went to get my treatment done in Mumbai. Hadn’t he come to my help, I would’ve been still struggling with my leg injury for at least one or one and a half years. I am sitting in front of you because of the little help that I have been receiving from time to time from people around me.”

“I have won so many medals for the country but haven’t been able to win the hearts of the Delhi govt. You tell me where is my fault here”

“I was even asked to show my certificates. I’m not a fool sitting here and lying about all this. I even showed the certificates that I was asked to show and then the person helping me said I’m sorry Divya, it was a misunderstanding and we will surely do something about it. No.”

“I’m just asking what I deserve and not begging the government for money. I’m just expressing my discontent here but everyone out there is turning this into a political issue.”

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