On any other morning, 19-year-old Ali Ansari would have probably been at the ground, practicing for the next big sports event, looking to add to his bronze medal he recently won at the 2019 Asian Youth Olympics. But amid these tough times, Ansari, a promising decathlete, has been forced to take over his father's fruit cart in Mahilpalpur.
COVID-19 has come with deaths and infections, not physically but financially, changing the lives of many, and especially affecting the underprivileged.
With great pride, Ansari talked about his medal hauls while explaining the 10 disciplines of a decathlon. Talking to ANI, Ansari said, "I played at the national and international level and won medals at both levels - silver and bronze respectively. I first made by state proud and then my country. My events include - 100m, short put, discuss throw, long jump, javelin, 1500m, pole vault, high jump."
Ansari, however, explained that financial difficulties forced him to leave the sport.
"COVID-19 made a huge impact. My family is not financially sound and lockdown made our lives more difficult. Nowadays I help my father at his fruit shop," he said.
Another athlete, Raj, the 2018 Delhi 10000m silver medallist, has been an employee of the Delhi Milk Scheme. He works in the night shift, as a crate loader, and then heads to the training ground in the morning. The pandemic has reduced his duty hours and his salary, leaving him unable to train properly.