The Mondol family stands out in the Khelo India Youth Games because of its uniqueness.
Poornima Mondol, who works as a housekeeper in the Games, is perhaps the proudest mother in the sports extravaganza. All three of her children, sons Sujit and Pradip, and daughter Malavika are taking part in the Games as athletes in kho kho, hockey and football respectively.
Poornima has taken up various jobs, without much success, throughout her life to support her family. She worked in a school, opened a shop and is again thinking of joining a school. The income of her carpenter husband, who was earning well at a time, has dwindled.
Nevertheless, Poornima – who understood the benefits of playing sports – has not let financial constraints prevent her children from pursuing sports.
“In the beginning, I faced a lot of trouble while providing sports equipment to my children. Now they win in tournaments and receive some money which has eased things. They earn enough to provide for themselves.
“Earlier, when they went out, I used to worry that they might come under bad influences. I put my children in sports because I didn't want them to waste their time after school hours. They come back from school and go out to play sports,” said Poornima.
Sujit, a kho kho player, is thankful to her mother and is proud to represent his state in a national-level event.
“I have always been fascinated with kho kho. Now, I have got a chance to play for Assam. Not many people understand kho kho. If we show the sport to people and teach them the basic rules, they will understand it,” said Sujit.
Poornima’s story may inspire people to understand the true spirit of Khelo India.