No Funds, Jobs or Government Aid, Karate Champion with 60 Medals Now Sells Tea in Mathura. This is a tragic tale about a karate champion who fell from the heights of his career into a pit of ruins.
Hari Om Shukla, at 23, had 60 medals in the junior and senior categories from Karate tournaments to his name.
Only 5 years later at the age of 28, the karate champion is selling tea in a small shack in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh.
But, with finances running out, no work to support his family despite a science degree, and the government has abandoned him, Shukla, 28, was left with no other option.
"It all seems like a dream now. I used to work in a private educational institute that supported me in pursuing my passion. But, later, they stopped the funding. I started teaching karate to school children but that also stopped in the lockdown. I had no other choice left, but to sell tea" said Shukla.
Shukla began working at his father's tea stand and now sells tea to support the family.
"I have a two-year-old son and there are other family expenses too. How long can I sit at home, waiting for the tide to turn?" he asked and added, "Today, I do not even have the money to pay to get a copy of my graduation degree."
"I used to work in a private educational institution whose management was supporting me in pursuing my passion. But, later, they stopped the funding," Shukla explained. He then began teaching karate to schoolchildren but the lockdown, it didn't last long.
No Government Support Provided to the Karate Champion
Hari Om Shukla has visited with Mathura MP Hema Malini and state Power Minister Shrikant Sharma, but no assistance has been provided.
Shukla, a Mathura native, began karate training at the age of 13 in 2006.
Shukla's first international medal came after many junior-level medals when he competed in an event in Thailand.
At the 14th International Funakoshi Cup Karate Championship in Mumbai in 2009, he earned a bronze medal in Kumite.
Shukla earned gold and silver medals at a World Kumite Organization event in Thailand in 2013.
Shukla won gold in the Senior Men's Kumite event under '75-80 kg' in Sri Lanka in 2015. He also won silver in Senior Men's Kata 'open group' at the same tournament, which was hosted by the International Shotokai Karate-do Federation of Sri Lanka.
Amit Gupta, Shukla's Coach, believes the Government should help Athletes
"The government can provide him a job as a coach in some school so that he can earn and also pursue his passion by preparing athletes," Gupta said.
Karate has been approved for the Tokyo Olympics. However, owing to internal politics, no Indian player would be permitted to participate. According to Gupta, this game is on the danger of extinction attributable to politics.