A lot has happened in distance runner Prajakta Godbole’s life since the Covid-19 national lockdown began in March. With the sole earning member of her family, her mother, losing her job, and her father paralysed, she is in a constant struggle to arrange the next meal for the family.
The 24-year-old athlete, residing with her parents at Siraspeth slum in Nagpur, represented Indian Universities in the 5000m race at the 2019 World University Games. She clocked a time of 18:23.92 but missed qualifying for the final round. She finished second in the Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Half Marathon earlier this year with a timing of 1:33:05.
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Her father, Vilas Godbole, was a security guard. He met with an accident that paralysed him. Prajakta’s mother Aruna was a cook at a catering service, and earned Rs 5000 to 6000 a month.
The small amount Prajakta’s mother earned was the only source of income for the family of three. The loss of her mother’s job due to the lockdown has hit them hard
“We are now surviving on help provided by people from nearby areas. They gave us rice, dal and other things. So, we are having something to eat in the next two-three days but I don’t know what will happen after that. This lockdown has been a cruel thing for us,” Prajakta was quoted by PTI.
“I am not even thinking of training, rather I don’t know how will I survive in this situation. Life is very harsh for us. The lockdown has brought ruin to us,” she added.
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Her mother Aruna said she has been worried and spends most of the time hoping the lockdown is lifted and wants to start her work.
“We are a very poor family but at least we could survive with the money I used to get from my job. I used to get Rs 5000 to 6000 but I can’t do it now. There is no income and we are penniless. We don’t know how long we will survive from others’ help,” she said.
Prajakta says she doesn’t know whom to approach and is yet to seek help from the sports officials from the district or the state.
“I don’t know what to do, my parents cannot do anything. We can just pray that this lockdown comes to an end. We are just waiting for that,” she said.
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