Persuading people to stay home amid a nationwide lockdown isn’t a very easy task, but some of these Indian athletes who are now accomplished police officers are playing a key role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. 2007 T20 World Cup-winning allrounder Joginder Sharma, Commonwealth Games gold medallist boxer Akhil Kumar and Asian Games champion kabaddi player Ajay Thakur – have all earned the opportunity to serve their country through jobs in the service and are manning the streets during these testing times.
Under such critical times, these sporting heroes could’ve enjoyed their usual privileges; instead they decided to demonstrate their role as people of influence while proving to be of greater human resource than just being athletes.
In a recent interview, Joginder Sharma, Akhil Kumar and Ajay Thakur opened up about their challenges that come with “doing duty” during an unprecedented crisis.
“I have been a DSP since 2007. This is one of a kind challenge for me as a police officer because of the general fear and I can tell you that I have seen quite a few challenges in my years of service,” said Sharma, who made history with the Indian Cricket team in the final against Pakistan in the 2007 T20 World Cup.
“Our duty time starts around 6am and we do patrolling, making people aware, send those who are out for fun to their homes, help those in need of essentials or medical aid and take action against those who try to defy without any good reason,” said the 36-year-old former all-rounder, currently serving in Hisar, Haryana.
“They respect me for my achievement and sometimes it helps my work when they see my nameplate. When I tell people to not crowd markets for cheap deals, they adhere. I tell them how costly it would be if they catch this infection, that they should not risk a deadly disease for saving a few bucks,” he added.
*Prevention is the only cure for Coronavirus,Let’s be together and fight with this Pandemic situation..Please cooperate with us* Jai Hind pic.twitter.com/Cl36TanfJP
— Joginder Sharma (@jogisharma83) March 24, 2020
This flamboyant bantamweight boxer who happens to be Sharma’s good friend is posted in Gurugram Police as ACP since September last year.
“People are generally cooperative and, in any case, essential services are being kept open so there is not much panic. I believe only a strict enforcement of lockdown will be able to halt this virus. People are slowly understanding this,” said the 38-year-old who bagged gold in the 2006 Common Wealth Games.
However, one of the most difficult duties for his department during these days is to control the young willful violators, or those who choose to ignore the situation.
“There are some who genuinely don’t know but there are others who come out despite knowing what it means. I think they should be dealt with sternly, that’s the only language they understand,” he asserted.
“I reach out to their parents. That’s the best way to make them understand because they are a little unaware of the gravity of the situation,” Kumar said.
मेरी आपसे प्रार्थना है कि आप इस समय देश में जहां भी हैं,
— Akhil kumar (@Akhilkumarboxer) March 24, 2020
Arjuna award winner Padma Shri Ajay Thakur is a DSP in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh since 2017. The 2014 Asian Games gold-medallist recently shared a photo of himself patrolling the streets of the town, raising awareness about the crisis.
“Please stay home save lives” wrote the 33-year-old on his Instagram account which has over two lakh followers!
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