From gold medals at the Special Olympics, to working as a labourer, read Rajbir Singh's story
In 2015, Rajbir Singh from Ludhiana got a hero's welcome when he returned to Chandigarh after winning two gold medals in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. But the attention did not bring with it much needed financial support.
Just a few months after that win, Rajbir, who has 'below average intellectual and adaptive functioning' was forced to start working with his father as a daily-wage labourer to make a living. This is despite the fact that he won medals in both the 1km and 2km cycling events.
In 2015, Rajbir was promised Rs 15 lakh by the then Punjab government for his achievements. The then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, honoured him and announced an additional prize of Rs 1 lakh. He was given an Rs 10 lakh by the central government but the amount has not matured.
Gold medal winner reduced to abject poverty
The present Punjab government has stepped in and promised to help after hearing about Rajbir. Meanwhile the head of a local NGO has also decided to help him. He has given him a cycle and is taking care of his medicines and food.
Today Rajbir pushes wheelchairs and does small jobs at the NGO. Seems like his days of cycling, for which he was a national hero, are truly over.