Bhubaneswar: Even after years of celebrating the National Sports Day, saluting the remarkable contribution of the sportsperson and encouraging them to shine high, the plight of a Odisha’s national-level woman footballer Tanuja Bage, resident of Jharsuguda, is now struggling to earn her living.

Bage, who once reserved a berth in the national football team for her quality play from 2003 till 2011, is leading a miserable life along with husband, Mahani Kandara, and two children. She is living along with her family in a dilapidated hut built on a patch of government land at one end of Debadihi village in Jharsuguda.

Bage played four matches as the goalkeeper of the national football team till 2011 and won accolades. She also represented Odisha thrice at the national level rugby championships.

She says that failing in finding any suitable job she finds it difficult to arrange meals two times for the family. Ironically, her husband works as a daily labourer and she takes goats of other villagers to forest for grazing to earn living.

She is yet to receive any assistance from the Odisha government. All her runs to government officials for help has remained futile.

Last year, Bage had got an assurance of Government job from the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, but the promise is yet to be fulfilled. Railways and Nalco’s assurances for help are yet to be executed in letter and spirit