Laxmi Vishwakarma, a resident of Mansarovar, Jaipur, has been a good medalist at a state level taekwondo champion. The 18-year-old Rajasthan’s taekwondo champion, Laxmi dreams of representing India in Olympics one day.
But her living conditions seem to be threatening to what she dreams of. Laxmi lives in a battered small shed located adjacent to a temple near Kiran Path in Mansarovar, Jaipur. Her father Siddhu Vishwakarma is a watchman and mother Saraswati is a domestic helper. Both of them together manage to earn just about Rs.10,000 a month, which is too less for the family of five to have proper meals a day. In such adverse situations, even a glass of milk is luxury for her. Her mother told that the five of them often share a packet of milk amongst them.
Laxmi, along with her twin sister Puja aspires to bring laurels to the nation with their talent and dedication. Both of them are inspired by their brother OP Vishwakarma, who had played in the national level. Brother OP Vishwakarma works at a karate academy but doesn’t have a steady income. He says that both the girls should get a protein-rich diet including fruits and soybean, but the circumstances they are living in doesn’t allow them to get it. The girls also lack the expensive training gear such as armguards and chest guards.
Laxmi had won a Gold medal at the 24th State Junior and Senior Taekwondo Championship in the under-52kg category in September 2015. For the championship, she wore a gear that she had borrowed from a coaching academy.
Laxmi says that she wants to play in the nationals as well but she has no idea on how to proceed. They are not capable of affording the entry fees for such championships, which is often more than Rs.5,000. She had taken up loans to pay for the state-level tournament and it seems almost impossible to manage funds for the national level championship.
The twin girls Laxmi and Puja are both talented and are students of class 11 of Mansarovar Priyanka Academy in Jaipur. The girls’ financial status is a matter of concern for their teachers as well. Parag Sharma, who is the director of the twins’ school, says that they are charging a very nominal amount from the girls and they also help the girls with other expenses. But the girls need to get proper coaching, good diet and necessary equipment to make the most out of their talent, which isn’t possible here. He mentioned that it would be sad if poverty wins over the girls’ talent and not let their talent get the recognition they deserve.
Laxmi feels proud to tell that she also teaches martial arts to girls at an orphanage after school. She teaches self-defense techniques there and a few boys also join her class while she is sharing how to defend yourself against attackers.
We wish the taekwondo champ Good Luck! May she soon bring laurels to the nation!