True Diamond : Sita Sahu - A Golden Girl


Sita Sahu: A golden girl, fallen on hard times…

Disability. Let’s take a moment to contemplate that word. 

What is disability? Is it the inability to do things that most people can? Or is it our collective failure to recognise the achievements of a truly monumental nature and felicitate them commensurately. We believe that disability is the latter, not the former, as this story shall aptly demonstrate. 

As Indians, we cannot refute the fact that we are a cricket crazy nation. Very often, this means that we will ignore the achievements of athletes from other sports. Sad, but true, this is the case with selfless athletes who often remain faceless and unfeted, for their monumental achievements that should make us all proud to feel Indian. 

Meet Sita Sahu. She’s 18, she’s mentally disabled and she sells pani puri for a living. Nothing too remarkable on the surface, is it? But when you hear of her staggering achievements on the grandest stage of them all, the Olympics, you will simply wonder, why this remarkable young lady is struggling to make ends meet! At the 2011 Athens Paralympics (the Olympics for the disabled), Sita Sahu won two bronze medals, in the 200m and 1600m events, making the
country proud. 

Circa 2013, a news report in the Times of India cited that this remarkable young woman was reduced to selling pani puri to provide for her family. The story of Sita is a story of India’s disability, our disability as a nation to provide for our Olympic heroes, our apathy and sheer negligence towards a section of our populace that does so much, but remains underappreciated.

On her return from Athens, the young Sita was promised the world, employment, financial assistance and even job assistance, but now nearly 5 years after her great triumph, nothing of what was promised to her, has come her way. If this isn’t a scathing indictment of our collective failure to recognise and make amends for the disrespect to the heroes of our nation, we don’t know what is…

In the interim, Sita remains positive and looks back on her performance at Athens as the crowning glory of her young life. We salute this #TrueDiamond, and wish her nothing but the absolute best for her humility, courage and indomitable spirit. This is what the Olympian spirit is all about. 

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