Aakanksha N Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, July 23
Mallika Handa, a 23-year-old specially-abled girl, who won the silver medal in the fifth World Deaf Blitz Chess Championship in Manchester, is now going to achieve another milestone by representing the country in an able-bodied competition at the international level.
The hearing and speech-impaired girl will compete with able-bodied players in the 43rd World Chess FIDE Olympiad in Georgia from September 23. Mallika was given a rousing welcome by the district administration at the local railway station on her return to Jalandhar from Manchester.
Her parents now expect financial help from the state government to help her pursue the game. Mother Renu Handa said, “My daughter has been making the state and country proud by winning medals. She is the only girl from the country who will play with the able-bodied players in an international competition. The government should come forward and help us.”
Mallika has played nine nationals till now. “She has played several state and national-level competitions and has never come back home empty-handed. She doesn't sleep at night before the big tournaments. She has never got any help from the government. We have approached many government officials but no one has helped us,” she complained.
Mallika does not have any coach to help her before big tournaments. Her father Suresh Handa does a private job and is finding it difficult to support her daughter now.
“Mallika expects a steady job from the state government. She feels that other sportspersons are being given jobs. She gets depressed and thinks that the government is not giving her a job because she is hearing and speech-impaired,” the mother said.
Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi said, “I congratulate Mallika on her international achievement. We are going to honour her with a cash award soon. I am ready to help her and will talk to the industrialists and corporate houses to sponsor her tour.”
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