India, at 15 years of age, pedal 1,200 km to bring the injured father home. The national cycling team calls it

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Virtues emerge proverbially from needs, but in times of difficulty a sporting talent can also light up. Until a few weeks ago, a 15-year-old Indian girl, Jyoti Kumari, traveled as a commuter from Siruhully, her village in Durbhanga, in the state of Bihar in the north-east of the country, to Gurugram, a hamlet of New Delhi, together with her father Mohan Paswan, driver of a motorized rickshaw.

With the stop of public transport, the pandemic in progress and the consequent lockdown imposed by the president Narendra Modi however, they had to cover a distance of about 1,200km with a second-hand bicycle, the only one they could afford to buy, being any type of rental too expensive. Following an accident, Father Mohan was no longer able to pedal, in addition to losing his job due to the general economic crisis that is affecting India, like the rest of the world. In a state of over one billion and 300 million people, millions have lost their jobs, so much so that the girl had no alternative but to take the dumbbell and bring her dad home.

The journey was long, but the distance was covered in one week, pedaling over 100km per day. Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the US president, noticed her, enough to dedicate a tweet to her that defines her business as a “great test of love and courage”. Local media had already been unable to refrain from telling a story that inevitably caught the attention of the Indian cycling federation. Kumari was thus offered the opportunity to take an audition to enter the national team directly. “We are convinced that there is great potential in her, beyond the emotional thrust that had given her affection for her father,” said Federation President Onkar Singh. “For now she has replied that she wants to continue her studies, but we immediately reassured her that any of our members has, in addition to training, also the opportunity to dedicate time to school, through the academy and at most specific lessons. We hope to convince you ».

For now the national team is waiting for you for the end of the period of restrictions and for when the pandemic will have passed. A hope that is currently far from being realized, with the number of infections in the country that continues to grow and the numbers of victims that have not yet been ascertained and reliable. Confirmed deaths are currently 3 thousand, but the difficulties in which it pours are immensely greater. The isolation and the economic crisis generated by the epidemic has seriously damaged the economy and increased unemployment.

Mohan Paswan he was already forced to move continuously in order to earn a few rupees, yet until recently India could boast one of the largest economic growths in the world. The country thus shows all its weaknesses, because the positive indicators did not reflect an effective well-being of citizens. Despite the dramatic context, Jyoti Kumari has however shown the world that he can earn his sporting opportunity, and perhaps even a definitive redemption, from an extremely modest condition and unfortunately common to many other Indians.

May 23, 2020 (change May 23, 2020 | 11:38 pm)

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