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Former captain of India’s wheelchair cricket team Rajendra Dhami to coach para athletes in Uttara

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Express News Service

DEHRADUN: After years of languishing in poverty, unemployment and working as a daily wager, ‘Acche Din’ finally arrived for Rajendra Singh Dhami (35), former captain of India’s wheelchair cricket team and current captain of the Uttarakhand team after the newly joined district magistrate intervened.

The Pithoragarh district administration has decided to employ him only in his own district as a coach to train para-athletes.

Ashish Chauhan, District Magistrate of Pithoragarh, learned about Dhami just after joining the District last month and said, “We as a country have done well in both Olympic and Paralympic Games. People like Dhami ji are a hub of talent, experience, determination and resilience, the ingredients needed to make a winning athlete. He will train ready athletes in the district. It will help nurture young talent for future prospects.”

Dhami, a resident of Raikot village in Pithoragarh district, resorted to rock breaking under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

The captain of the wheelchair cricket team of Uttarakhand, which qualified the 2012 provincial service exams (PCS) for Uttarakhand, has urged the state government to give him a job appropriate to his qualification. He holds a master’s degree in history and a bachelor’s degree in education (BEd).

Sanjay Pauri, district sports officer of Pithoragarh said: “The paperwork is almost done and soon we will issue an appointment letter for Rajendra Singh Dhami to start as a coach.”

Commenting on the development, Dhami said: “I am very grateful to the DM Sir who personally took stock of my situation. There are no words to express my gratitude. I will carry out my duties as a coach to the best of my ability.”

He has already trained at least 19 specially skilled teenagers in various aspects of cricket including batting, bowling, fielding and others.

After TNIE reported last year and also in February this year about the ex-captain of the Indian wheelchair cricket team who worked as a manual laborer, the Indian Olympic Association came forward to support him and provided monetary assistance of Rs 50,000 while the office of the district magistrate of Pithoragarh district provided Rs 20,000.

Dhami refused to take his own life despite setbacks, and lacking any help from the state government, Dhami resorted to manual labor for his livelihood while building his own team.

Dhami’s family income currently does not exceed Rs 3000. He and his 65-year-old father have engaged in manual labor to provide for the daily needs of them and their family.

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