Hockey alone cannot feed – S. Prema (Karnataka state women’s hockey captain)

BANGALORE: National championships and awards count for nothing for the hapless S Prema. The Karnataka women’s hockey captain is another among hundreds in the sporting fraternity which pursue sports in all earnestness without just rewards.

Only that in her case, she has nowhere to turn to: neither does she have a job nor are her parents financially strong enough to take care of her needs.

Daughter of daily wage earners who work in a coffee plantation in Siddapura, Kodagu, Prema, 20, has seen hardship from close quarters. She has seen her parents do the odd jobs for a mere Rs 100 per day. She has seen the income increase marginally over the years but hardly substantially enough to turn their fortunes around.

Two less than square meals a day was the norm ever since she was born but was made possible only when Prema’s parents made a concerted effort throughout the day.

There were periods when her father was indisposed, especially during rainy days, forcing her mother to brave heavy rain and work through the day. But then their dream, as Prema says, was to see her shine as a hockey player.

“Ever since I took up the game when I was in eighth standard and joined the Kudige sports school, I was forced to depend on my parents to buy equipment or for travel and tournaments. They never said no to me. They would borrow money to ensure I got the best. It was heart-rending to see them struggle thereafter to pay back the money,” said Prema, who now trains at the State sports hostel in Mysore.

“In the past couple of years I stopped asking them money. We are being well taken care of by Sports Hostel,” said the full back, a final year BA student at Teresian college.

What has dismayed Prema is that the game hasn’t been as productive as she thought it would be. “I have played in the National championship before. We won the South Zone tournament this year in Tirupati and I am leading the side again in Bangalore. I only hope I get a job so that I can take care of my parents.”


  • S Prema
  • Age 20
  • Hails from: Siddapura, Kodagu
  • Trains at: Sports Hostel, Mysore
  • Coaches: Devanand, Vijayakrishna
  • Parents: Daily wage earners

For a list of famous personalities hailing from Coorg please click here



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