Mumbai: Manjit Singh gave his all to win an 800m gold at the Jakarta Asian Games. He had been training hard for the quadrennial event from more than two years and even missed the birth of his only son.
But more than a month after making his country proud, the 29-year-old is unsure about his future.
He wants to compete in Asian Athletic Championship next and other events to qualify for the 2020 Olympics but is without a job or a sponsor at the moment.
Before the Asiad, the Haryana athlete trained in Ooty and even self financed a trip to the high altitudes of Bhutan.
It worked for him but the unemployed athlete now hardly has anything left to spend for advanced training.
“I am jobless at the moment. I have applied for job under TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) and Haryana government is working on it.
There has been delay in it as since there are so many athletes in Haryana who have applied for.
But if it happens soon, it will allow me to focus entirely on preparations for the Asian Championships and other events that will help me to qualify for Olympics (in Tokyo),” he said.
Singh lost his ONGC job a couple of years ago due to unimpressive results but he took up the challenge of proving himself and started preparing hard for the Asiad.
“I started training two years ago in Ooty and put some of my money to train in Bhutan at high altitude which helped me.
I am hoping to train in similar conditions and even in better facilities abroad for future events but will need sponsors to do well for my country.
I know the Athletics Federation of India will put in more support only is I am able to qualify for the Olympics,” he added. Singh however is satisfied that his hard work bore fruit.
“I received great love in my village in Haryana. My family is over the moon. I wasn’t able to heed their requests to come home for a week at the birth of my son as I didn’t want to disturb my training,” Singh stated.