Jishnu, Shivam resort to crowdfunding for Tokyo Olympics

Jishnu Sanyal, who has partnered with top players such as Jwala Gutta in mixed doubles and Akshay Dewalkar and Manu Attri in men’s doubles in the past, is now raising funds on Milaap.org, India’s largest crowdfunding platform.

India's Jishnu Sanyal (L) watches Akshay Dewalkar play a shot during a men's doubles second round match at the World Championship in Hyderabad.   -  AFP

Plagued by injuries and misfortune, India’s doubles shuttler Jishnu Sanyal has taken the path of crowdfunding to find his way back in international circuit and prepare for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Jishnu, who has partnered with top players such as Jwala Gutta in mixed doubles and Akshay Dewalkar and Manu Attri in men’s doubles in the past, is now raising funds on Milaap.org, India’s largest crowdfunding platform.

In 2013, Jishnu took a year’s break due to his mother’s illness and her eventual demise. He returned to action last year but soon suffered a career-threatening ACL injury. This compelled him to stay away from action for some time and his dream of chasing a Rio Olympics berth was shattered.

Jishnu resumed playing with Shivam Sharma, his current partner, from December last year and they would need to compete in various international tournaments around the globe to improve their ranking.

“My current partner Shivam and I currently hold number 1 position in doubles in the country. We still need to win 12-15 international tournaments in the next 8-10 months to gain the international ranking points we need,” said Jishnu, who had won the International Series titles at Mauritius and Kenya, partnering Manu Attri in 2011.

“Due to lack of necessary support and funds, we are running a crowdfunding campaign on Milaap.org to keep our dreams alive,” added Jishnu, who requires Rs 10-15 lakhs for travel, accommodation and nutrition costs.

Arranging funds to compete in international circuit after a long injury lay-off is a bitter reality that every shuttler is confronted with at some stage of their career. While the government spends considerable amount of money on top players, most shuttlers who make a comeback after a long gap due to various reasons, are forced to use their personal fund to compete in international events.

From P Kashyap to upcoming players like Tanvi Lad, they struggled to get sponsorships as, in most cases, neither the government nor private companies come forward to help independent athletes. Recently, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy had spoken about their struggle for sponsorship after they had won the mixed doubles title in Brazil.

Last month, Sourabh Verma, who is trying to make a comeback after a long injury lay-off, had reached the finals of two international challengers in Belgium and Poland and the money he earned barely took care of his flight fares.

“I am managing the funds myself. It is tough but thanks to my savings and past winnings that I am managing it. I am looking for a sponsor,” said Sourabh. “In international challengers, you don’t get prize money if you lose in quarters but in Super Series you get paid if you reach last eight. I earned around USD 1200 and USD 400 in the last two events, which hardly takes care of the expenses.”