Archer Sonu Khatoon sports her medal and certificate along with the cheque she received on Tuesday.
DHANBAD: A 23-year-old archer forced to work as a domestic help and sell vegetables on the roadside to eke out a living received some monetary help from the administration in the coal belt on Tuesday.
Sonu Khatoon, a daughter of construction worker Idris Alam from Jorapokhar area of Jharia, about 12 km of Dhanbad, had won bronze in the under-17 category at the 56th National Games in Pune in 2011. She clinched another bronze at 10th Jharkhand State Archery championship in Bokaro in 2012.
Talking to TOI, Sonu said, “My aim was to participate in the National Archery Championship in the senior category, but I had to give up my dream and discontinue practice a year ago when my Indian round bow broke during practice. I worked as a domestic along with my mother to earn a livelihood. I lost the job when the lockdown was imposed and started selling vegetables on the Dhanbad-Sindri road.”
On being informed about her ordeal, Dhanbad deputy commissioner Amit Kumar called her on Monday night and told her a that vehicle would pick her up from her home and bring her to the district collectorate. “DC sir gave me a Rs 20,000 cheque, which is in the name of my father as I don’t have my own bank account. He also took details of my achievements and assured me that he will explore ways of extending more help soon,” she said.
As a student, Khatoon practiced archery with a self-made bamboo bow in the forests near her home she finally got an opportunity for formal training in 2009 when she was selected for the Digwadih stadium-based feeder centre for Tata Steel’s Jharia division. She continued training here until 2016, when she turned 20.
“I was allowed to practice here with my own bow after 2016, but I had to quit practice when my Indian round bow was damaged last year. I joined my mother, who worked as a domestic help in the nearby households.” A new Indian round bow costs as much as around Rs 10,000 and with the help from the administration, she can now purchase one to resume training, Sonu said.
DC Kumar said, “We have giver her an immediate assistance of Rs 20,000 so that she can buy a new bow and resume training. We are exploring more ways to help her.”