Satyanarayana, who began to play hockey at the age of six, represented Hyderabad from 1953 onwards

He played hockey internationally for India but today Kota Satyanarayana is forgotten and ignoredImage By arrangement
news Hockey Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - 21:21

At 85, facing severe financial constraints and dealing with his failing eyesight and hearing, Kota Satyanarayana is hurt about the way he has been forgotten and ignored. After all, he spent his prime playing hockey not just for the state of Hyderabad, but also for the nation.

Satyanarayana, who began to play hockey at the age of six, represented Hyderabad from 1953 onwards. He also played for the south zone team in zonal tournaments in the 1960s. And in the 1962 International Hockey Tournament he represented India.

 

For his performance on the field for Hyderabad, he was given a job as a conductor with Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation(APSRTC), and was later promoted to the position of travelling ticket inspector. He says, “As I was a hockey player, I was offered a job in the police force in states like Punjab and West Bengal, but because I did not want to leave my family behind and go so far away, I never accepted those offers.”

After Satyanarayana retired from the APSRTC at the age of 55, he continued with his passion for hockey, working as a hockey coach in a few schools and organizing a few summer coaching workshops as well. “I continued with hockey till the time I could manage to play. I only stopped playing three or four years ago as I don’t have much energy to play anymore," he says.

For the past few years, Satyanarana has been struggling with problems of sight and hearing. In December 2015, he underwent surgery on his right eye. And doctors have been recommending for some time now that he get a hearing aid, but he says he simply cannot afford the Rs 15,000 required for a hearing aid.

Satyanarayana says that he and his daughter have made many appeals in the last six or seven years to the state government for financial aid, but has not received a proper response.  In January 2015, he says, IT minister K T Rama Rao felicitated him on behalf of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), and he was promised a monthly pension of Rs 10,000 at that event. “I received the pension for one year, but after that time, that also stopped.”

“I have 35-year-old daughter who is yet to get married, but due to our financial troubles we are not able to find a good match for her. I have two sons who are working in private companies, and it is only with their support that we are able to even get by," he says.

Satyanarana says that he has always lived a simple life, as sportspersons should. “I was never interested in anything else apart from hockey. Even after winning matches, when we would pose for photographs, my coach would tell me that a sportsman should only give importance to the sport to become a successful sportsman.” He says that he has maintained this focus on the sport to the exclusion of all else throughout his life.

But today Satyanaraya feels poorly rewarded for his lifelong pursuit of the sport. “We are suffering from health and financial problems but no one is bothered. Stars like Sania Mirza are receiving crores but poor people like us are suffering in rented single-room houses with a big family. India should treat hockey with the kind of importance that other countries give to hockey and other sports. Only then will players like us feel honoured," he says.

 

 

 

 

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