Rahi Sarnobat – India’s first female shooter to win an Asian Games gold – still has ‘nightmares’ about her financial security despite competing at the highest level for more than a decade, PTI reported.
The 28-year-old pistol shooter from Kohlapur feels that she should have been financially sound, but apparently, she is not.
The Asian Games gold got her a total cash reward of Rs 70 lakh (Rs 50 lakh from Maharashtra government and Rs 20 lakh from the sports ministry) but such are the expenses of a top-level shooter, Sarnobat ended up giving a chunk of that award money to her personal coach Munkhbayar Dorjsuren, a former Olympic medallist and world champion from Mongolia.
Dorjsuren is now a German citizen. Sarnobat is supported by Olympic Gold Quest and is also employed as a deputy collector in her state’s revenue department, but she has gone without pay from September 2017 due to her sporting commitments.
“I feel I don’t have more than four years left as a professional shooter and after 12 years of competing for India, I still have sleepless nights about my financial situation,” Rahi was quoted as saying.
Sarnobat continues to pay Dorjsuren (approximately Rs 50 lakh per year) but remains fully committed to her sport and will not compromise on training one bit ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I have taken leave without pay from the state revenue department,” Sarnobat. “Anyway, I have not been paid since September 2017. I thought of going to Mumbai and talk to my employers but it is very hard to find time as a professional shooter.
“We have back-to-back events and if there are no tournaments, we are busy with the training. I do want more sponsors but don’t know how to go about the whole thing.”
The 25-metre pistol shooter overcame a career-threatening elbow injury to win the Asian Games gold in Indonesia, her first major victory since the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She also won a World Cup gold back in 2013.
It was Dorjsuren who played a major role in getting Sarnobat career back on track. The coach commands a hefty remuneration and if situation doesn’t improve, Sarnobat says she will run out of money to pay her.
“2018 being a busy year, I had to train with Dorjsuren for 10 months. This year too, she will be with me for at least seven months [leading to an estimated annual expense of Rs 35 lakh at the rate of Rs 5 lakh per month].
“I hardly have any money to take care of myself and my retired parents. I hope I find a way to deal with this at the earliest,” she added.