Demotivated champion mulls quitting game

Last Updated 12 February 2018, 11:54 IST

It is not enough to just have talent, intelligence and determination, you also need to have the financial means to accomplish your goal. Unfortunately, that's reserved only for the lucky few in this country.

Karnataka's Kishan Gangolli, who on Sunday, became the National Blind Chess champion for the fifth consecutive time, is a shining example of the plight that a player of his kind has to endure.

So frustrated is the 26-year-old Gangolli at the lack of support that he is thinking about quitting the sport because he does not have the resources to sustain his passion.

"Yes (I am planning to quit), because I am not getting any support from anyone," Gangolli told DH.  

"Before coming to this event itself, I had decided to give-up. There is no point. From 2013 to 2018 I have been waiting for sponsorship but I am not getting any. I cannot afford to continue.

"I want to become the first International Master in visually challenged chess. For that we have to play more tournaments. It's not possible because I am not a rich person. That's why I made the decision," he added.

The circumstances that forced him to come to this decision were largely due to the government's apathy towards the sport. Though All India Chess For the Blind (AICFB) is a recognised body, visually-challenged players are stilll having difficulty in attracting sponsors.  

"I have approached the government and the Karnataka state government after winning the Asian Championship (March 2017 in Manipal) but they've not released a single rupee. They said that the blind chess is not included in the Paralympic games," Gangolli rued.

Gangolli has won back-to-back (2012, 2017) medals in Chess Olympiad, a quadrennial event, and is also the reigning Asian champion in visually-challenged chess. The Karnataka player feels he has done everything he can to get the government's attention.

"They have recognised the Paralympics and blind cricket and I am happy about that. But they should recognise blind chess as well. This is the only game in which visually-challenged can compete with mainstream players. I have also played sighted tournaments and won many medals," he offered.

The journey hasn't been easy for Gangolli, who has had to make personal sacrifices to take up chess as a profession. "In 2013, I was in graduation. I left my final semester exam and went to the World Team championship, thinking 'if i bring more medals for the country and make India proud, our blind fraternity will be recognised and our sports will be promoted'," he divulged.

Disappointed and demotivated, Gangolli, who bears his own expenses and has a Masters in Economics, is hoping to find greener pastures elsewhere. "It is not possible for us like this, we can have a better life in another field. Despite facing all these challenges, nothing is coming our way, it is really sad," Gangolli remarked.

(Published 12 February 2018, 11:52 IST)

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