Former paddler Neha turns saviour for the needy in COVID-19

Former Olympian Neha Aggarwal, who retired in 2015, joins hands with G. Sathiyan and A. Sharath Kamal to help people in her fraternity.

Former Olympian and table tennis player Neha Aggarwal.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Former Olympian and table tennis champion Neha Aggarwal donned the role of a saviour for the needy in her fraternity joining hands with the big names from India - G. Sathiyan and A. Sharath Kamal.

"I felt that the three-month lockdown due to COVID-19 has badly affected the lifestyle of the support staff, especially coaches who were solely dependent on the sport to make a living. So, I launched this initiative ‘Our Chance To Serve’ with the help of Go Sport to help them," says 30-year-old Neha in a chat with Sportstar.

"We are glad that the initiative, launched on June 23 and closing on July 5, with a target of Rs. 10 lakhs to take care of about 100 needy families has actually crossed the mark within a week. Now, we could raise funds which should meet the minimum needs of about 150 families," says the proud Neha, who is now settled in Hyderabad having married city-based table tennis player Shubham Sharma three years ago.

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The beneficiaries are mostly being from Tamil Nadu and Bengal, which are the major hubs of the sport in India, besides Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand.

"The primary objective is to give at least Rs.10,000 to each of the needy and that too after intense scrutiny to ensure only the deserving are benefitted,” says the former paddler.

"To be frank, this initiative is similar to what both Sathiyan and Sharath have done in Chennai earlier on a smaller scale. So, since I was involved in the Olympic Gold Quest for a similar campaign for the hockey fraternity, I took up this one in a big way,” Neha said.

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The champion player, who retired in 2015 after winning medals including gold in the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games and three medals in the Commonwealth Championship, says the whole idea was more of a social responsibility. "There are no future plans on these lines for sure. We will see as and when the situation arises,” Neha concludes.

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