Bhubaneswar: Divyang boy Rakhal Kumar Sethi has made both Odisha and India proud for earning 20 medals-10 gold, 4 silver and six bronze so far in several national and international wheelchair fencing championships.
The 10-time national champion Rakhal has been selected to represent the country in the world championships in wheelchair fencing event to be held in Rome from November 6-12.
However, poverty today stands as the main barrier between him and Rome. Yet an indomitable Rakhal is busy in practice at Karnan Stadium in Panipat of Haryana for the championships and struggling simultaneously to collect funds to make it to Rome in November.
Rakhal who hails from Bhandiripokhari in Bhadrak district lost his father in his childhood. To fend for himself he had no other than having his own tea stall. Yet the sports enthusiast started his coaching under Bishnu Charan Sahoo in 2010. Rest as they say is history.
It is an irony that having won laurels for the state of Odisha, the state government’s assistance still eludes poor Rakhal.