Punjab-based Malika Handa, a hearing-impaired chess champion, urged the state government to provide her with a job and a coach on Tuesday. Handa has won several medals at various national and international events. "Malika has received no appreciation from government despite being a seven-time national champion (sic)," said the player's mother, Renu Handa. She also expressed disappointment over the state government's ignorance towards differently-abled players.
Handa's family told reporters that despite winning a seven-time national chess champion, in a row and winning medals at international championships too, the player's efforts and hard work were never recognised by the state government or the district Sports Department.
Punjab | Malika Handa, a deaf chess player who's won several medals in national & int'l events, has urged Punjab govt to provide her with a coach & govt job— ANI (@ANI) August 10, 2021
"Malika's received no appreciation from govt despite being a 7-time national champion," says her mother, Renu Handa(09.08) pic.twitter.com/esbydym922
Earlier, this month, tagging Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi in one of her posts on Twitter, Handa informed him that she is a World Champion and has been waiting for eight years to get a government job in the state. The athlete further noted that she has not received any financial help either. "I m sitting at home why why Im getting depressed day by day No one sees my hard work (sic)," she vented out her anger against the state government on Twitter.
@iranasodhi sir i am world champion in my own chess game.— Malika Handa🇮🇳🥇 (@MalikaHanda) August 8, 2021
Why why Punjab Govt ignoring me??
We are very very waiting after 8 years ago as I have not job or not cash award all.
I m sitting at home why why
Im getting depressed day by day
No one sees my hard work @ianuragthakur pic.twitter.com/nKEtOvFNah
Handa made headlines when she became the first Indian girl to win a gold medal in the International Deaf and Dumb Chess Championship held in Mongolia in 2015. She grew up in Jalandhar, Punjab, and has a 90 percent hearing disability. She earned a seat in a regular college due to her expertise in chess even though was only introduced to the game in 2010. However, she quickly adapted it and didn't let her disability define her career. A four-time gold medalist of the National Chess Championship for the Deaf, Handa also clinched a silver medal at the International Chess Committee of the Deaf (ICCD) worldwide World Deaf Blitz Chess Championship held in Manchester. She was also a part of the able-bodied players' group in the 43rd World Chess FIDE Olympiad, which was held in Georgia.
In 2019, the chess player from Jalandhar was honoured by the National Disability Award, which was given by the President of India to all specially-abled people who had made India proud in their respective fields. She received the award under the best sportsperson with disability category.
She has also won the 22nd National Championship for the Deaf, held in Mysuru in Karnataka in 2020. This was her seventh consecutive title win in a row. Her father, Suresh Handa had earlier said that they had met the sports minister and Sodhi had given them assurances, but her pleas have not been heard yet. Handa herself had earlier expressed that she often gets depressed as the state government has not acknowledged her efforts.