Nearly a year and a half after getting financial help from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS)’s Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons (PDUNWFS), Uttar Pradesh’s archer Neeraj Chauhan has made it to the Indian archery team for the Asian Games.
Neeraj, who on Sunday finished in the top three positions of the ongoing Asian Games Selection Trials, will also get to represent India at the four World Cups and World Games that are set to take place later this year.
“The timely intervention at that time helped me and my family a lot and got me back to training for the future competition,” Neeraj said.
Neeraj had first made news back in the year 2020 when during the Covid-19 lockdown his father, who at the time was the only earning member of the family, had lost his job due to the pandemic.
The sudden job loss had led to a huge financial crunch for the family, which had then forced Neeraj and his family to sell vegetables to make ends meet.
Their plight was then highlighted by Archery Association of India (AAI) president Arjun Munda, who in a tweet had requested then Sports minister Kiren Rijiju for his help.
The MOS took stock of the situation, and immediately sanctioned Neeraj and his brother Sunil, who is a national boxer, financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each under the ministry’s Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund.
“Since getting the financial help, I was able to upgrade my Archery equipment to the one I am currently using during my training at SAI Sonepat, and also spend a little more money on diet, which I could not before,” Neeraj added.
Asked how he felt about making it to the national team, an ecstatic Neeraj said, “I am very happy and excited that I made it to the Indian National team. My first international event would be the Asian Games, and now I will give my full energy to prepare for the event so I can win a medal there.”
The second phase of the Asian Games, World Games and World Cup Selection trials is currently on at Sports Authority of India (SAI) Sonepat. While the Recurve category of completion ended on March 27, the selection trials for the Compound category are currently on and will conclude on March 30.