If athletes in the country get half the attention and funding that cricketers are showered with, the story of Indian sports would have been quite different.
But with many prolific sportspersons resorting to street vending and petty jobs to make ends meet despite bringing laurels to the country, pursuing sports as a profession continues to remain a dream in India.
This would have been the story of Akshay Mare, a 22-year-old boxing aspirant from Pune as well, who delivered newspapers to chase his passion.
With financial crunches making the young man climb ten floors every day just to earn ₹2, a major professional highpoint came in the form of the bronze medal that he had bagged during the national boxing tournament.
However, after the tournament, it was back to square one for Akshay. It wasn’t until a story about the upcoming boxer’s daily struggle was featured in the Hindustan Times, that things began to change.
Following the feature, a Mumbai-based global firm stepped in and offered to sponsor all the expenses that Akshay will need to train.
Dorf Ketal Chemicals India Pvt Ltd, which is a chemical manufacturing and supply company, has taken the responsibility of the young champ as part of its CSR activities.
Akshay is elated with the financial aid offered to him. “This is very encouraging. I was forced to skip my early morning training session, as I had to deliver newspapers in my area. But now with this help, I can totally focus on my game. I will leave no stone unturned to make the country proud,” he told HT.
Supplied with a pair of professional boxing gloves as a starter, Akshay is determined that he will make the best out of all resources provided by the company. As for future plans, he dreams of winning a national gold medal.
“This will be my first step towards an international career. With the company’s backing, I will definitely win several medals for my country. Representing India at the Olympics and winning medals is my ultimate aim,” he added.
Apart from Akshay, Dorf Ketal is also supporting five other athletes, namely Swati Shinde and Nandini Salokhe (international wrestlers), Haresh Kamble (shooting), Snehal Salonke (archery) and Adil Ansari (para archery).