New Delhi: It was a great moment for sports lovers in Odisha when four women players from the state were picked up in the national squad for the recently-concluded Rio Olympics. They erupted in joy and celebrated the selection of the girls with great fanfare.
However, the same sports lovers are now aghast to know that the girls were not allowed to occupy berths in a train to return from Ranchi to Rourkela and forced to sit on the floor of the compartment. The hockey stars — Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz and Sunita Lakra — had on Saturday boarded the Dhanbad-Alleppey Express train from Ranchi to Rourkela and had to reportedly travel without being allotted confirmed berths, sitting on the floor of the train.
The Sundargarh girls were not given berths despite revealing their identity to the Train Ticket Examiner (TTE). “We asked the TTE to allot berths to us but he denied. After travelling for about an hour, we got seats,” Sunita Lakra said on Sunday.
“Though the Indian team failed to win a medal at the event, the players certainly scripted history for representing the country at the highest level. However, they deserved a better treatment than what was extended to them,” said Ramachandra Behera, an avid sports lover.
“We will draw the attention of the Railways about the incident. They should have been provided seats. It is the responsibility of the department to take care of them,” Sundargarh sub-collector Himanshu Sekhar Behera said.