Rio-return women hockey stars forced to sit on train floor Odisha was erupted in joyous celebration when four women hockey players were picked from the state to play in the Indian national squad for the recently-concluded Rio Olympics.

The selection of these four girls was celebrated with great fanfare but a recent incident brought cheerlessness on the face of same sports lovers. A nation where you make films on women’s hockey and promote the sport widely, these four girls were not allowed to occupy berths in a train to return from Ranchi to Rourkela.

They were forced to sit on the floor of the compartment. Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Deep Grace Ekka and Sunita Lakra boarded the Dhanbad-Alleppey Express train from Ranchi to Rourkela on Saturday and had to travel without being allotted confirmed berths sitting on the floor.

Even after they revealed their identity to the Train Ticket Examiner, the Sundargarh girls were not given berths.

Sunita Lakra stated that they asked the TTE to allot the births to them but he refused. They travelled for about an hour and then got the seats.

An avid sports lover, Ramachandra Behera said that even if  the Indian team failed to win a medal at the Rio Olympics, these girls scripted history as they represented India at the highest level.

He added, “They deserved a better treatment than what was extended to them”.

Sundargarh sub-collector Himanshu Sekhar Behera, stated that the department will draw the attention of the Railways about what happened to these girls as it is the responsibility of the department to take care of them.

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29 August 2016
Avni S. Singh

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