Davinder Singh Kang, who shot to fame after becoming the first Indian to qualify for the javelin final at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, is going through the toughest period of his life. Frightened of going bankrupt, cash-starved Davinder Singh has threatened to compete for Italy unless he gets more financial support from the government.
In the recently released list of 107 athletes in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) of the government, Davinder Singh’s name is not included. The scheme aims to support athletes who are seen as prospective medal winners in the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2018 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Davinder was shocked not to see his name in the list. “I don’t know but might be my age came as a factor. I am 27 and perhaps government thinks that I am not young enough. But I guarantee that I can win medal for my country,” declared Davinder.
It is getting difficult for Singh to meet the expenses of the sport. “I borrowed money from my friends before going to the World Championships. My father took a loan and I owe 4.5 lakh rupees to my supplement provider. He is a friend of mine. He asked me not to worry but till how many days I will not pay the debt?” Davinder said.
Though Davinder Singh has a job in the Army, but the salary is hardly enough to repay the loans. His father is a farmer and his parents often do not keep well. Though they have never asked for any financial help from Davinder, yet being a son it is his duty to look after his parents. “My salary goes away in household expenses. Though once I received a total of 10 lakh rupees from Punjab Sports Association and Orissa government, but that went away in buying my kits and supplements. My kit itself is worth Rs 10,000 to 12,000. A t-shirt costs Rs 2,000-3,000. Where will I find so much money?” Davinder laments.
The athlete who is the second best in the country in javelin throw after Neeraj Chopra, started his career in the sport when he was in 9th standard. His school principal encouraged him to learn javelin. From 2006 he started competing in national games under senior coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon but his elbow fracture has often kept him out of tournaments. Still Davinder’s throw of 84.57m lies just after national champion Neeraj Chopra who has a junior world record of 86.48m.
Davinder Singh has got an offer from Campionati Nazionali Universitari, an Italian academy, to be paid 2000 dollars (Rs 12.90 lakh) per month but with the condition that he has to represent Italy. “It is not something that I want. I love my country and I love to wear its jersey. But if there is no development in the current situation after two weeks, I have to take a drastic step”, Davinder said.
In between these two weeks Davinder will participate in National Open Athletics Championships in Chennai and prove his worth by winning a medal there. His last hopes rest on the result of this championship as he keeps his fingers crossed to be noticed by the authority to consider his name in TOPS.