No money for the bus, hot water instead of milk: runner Lokesh Kumar suffers from lack of funds


15-year-old runner Lokesh Kumar has been on the podium regularly at the Delhi State meet in recent years. In the recently concluded edition, he finished with silver medals in the (U-16) 100 and 300m events despite his illness.

The up-and-coming runner, who is keen to advance to the 400m event this year, has been hit by an obstacle he says could stifle his promising track and field career – lack of funds. Lokesh lives in a rented single room with his family of four. Lokesh’s father, a pedicab driver, has been mostly unemployed since the pandemic, and his mother works as a domestic helper in bungalows nearby.

Lokesh lives in a rented single room with his family of four.

“I don’t even have the money to take the return bus from Shahdara to my training ground (Jawaharlal Nehru stadium). We don’t even have the money to have regular milk, so I drink lukewarm water and work out. Good nutrition is a luxury that I can’t afford to dream of right now, ”says Lokesh.

Lokesh is training under the guidance of Delhi-based trainer Vipin Kumar, who not only trains his service for free, but also provides him with training kits and regular cash assistance.

“I’m doing my best but since the pandemic everything has changed. A lot of students have left and I have limited resources. He’s a good talent and I’d be a shame if he had to give up for financial reasons, ”said Vipin, who believes Lokesh can run 400m under 49 years old.

Lokesh, a Grade 10 student at the government-run Sarvodaya Co-Ed Vidyalaya at RK Puram, dreams of becoming a big on the track and field circuit. “I want to train hard and become a top athlete. But I’m scared. My dad told me if things didn’t change I should go with him to work, ”Lokesh says.

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