Sports Minister Rathore approves 5L aid for boxer who fought Ali


CHANDIGARH: The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has approved Rs 5 lakh aid from the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons for Indian boxing icon, 69-year-old Kaur Singh, who was struggling to repay Rs 2 lakh he had borrowed from a private financier to fund his treatment for cardiac problems.
In a tweet sent out by Sports Minuiter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Monday, the minster stated that the Ministry is privileged to approve 5 lakh for Singh’s immediate use from the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons.
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Singh was the only boxer in India to have entered the ring against boxing legend Muhammad Ali and gave him a tough fight during an exhibition match in New Delhi in 1980. He won gold in Asian Games in 1982, got the Arjuna Award in 1982 and the Padmashri in 1983. He hung up his gloves after representing India in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where he won two consecutive bouts.
He returned to his village — Khanal Khurd in Sangrur district of Punjab — after retiring from the Army which he had joined in 1971as a havildar at the age of 23. He was honoured by the Army with the Vishisht Sewa Medal in 1988 and was bestowed the Sena Medal for his bravery during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Much to Kaur’s disappointment and bitterness, the four-time national boxing champion and winner of six gold medals in international competitions, was sidelined by the government when he needed its support the most.
He developed a heart ailment two years ago and required stenting of blocked arteries. The Army paid Rs 3 lakh for his treatment then. He also took a private loan of Rs 2 lakh from a private financier to fund additional treatment costs and managed to repay that loan.
However, he again went through a financial crisis as he borrowed Rs 2 lakh this year from a private financier to fund his cardiac treatment. “I had borrowed Rs 2 lakh two years ago from a private lender and had managed to pay that back after harvest. “This year, I had to borrow Rs 2 lakh again for hospital expenses in Mohali. The amount escalates to an additional Rs 50,000 within a span of 6 months as interest and my income is not enough to repay the debt. I don’t know how I will return this money,” he had told TOI.
Though he gets some money as pension from the Punjab government, where he served as a coach, and his pension from the Army, it was not enough to take care of his needs.
In 1982, the then Punjab government had announced a cash award of Rs 1lakh for him for the gold medal he won at the Asiad.