20-year-old Juhi Jha from Indore, Madhya Pradesh has been living in a 10×10 quarter allotted to her father who works in a public toilet. Next door to the toilet, the quarter was where the family of five lived for almost 12 years even when Juhi was representing India in an international tournament.
Juhi Jha, the kho-kho player from Indore
Walking anywhere near a public toilet or using it is a breath-holding experience that we’re all aware of. Despite her difficult living conditions, she concentrated on her studies and began training to be a kho-kho player in the 4th grade with a group called Happy Wanderers.
“I played my first national sub-junior national in class 6. Since then I have never looked back. I have represented the state in over 40 nationals,” said Juhi in a conversation with the Times of India. She worked hard and trained like any other passionate sportswoman and is now reaping its benefits.
Juhi at the Asian kho kho championship 2016
Speaking of her living conditions, Juhi Jha told Dainik Jagran, “I have lived here (the public toilet quarters) for about 12 years. My father earned about Rs 6000-7000 which supported our home. The conditions were bad, but I never gave up on playing. Three years ago, he lost the job and with it, the house too.”
Juhi and her family’s only worry is to secure a stable mode of income for the family. Juhi’s father Subodh Jha has no permanent job, making her mother Rani Jha who works by stitching clothes at a tailoring shop, the only one earning for the house.
Juhi is one among the 10 people who were chosen for the Vikram Award by the Madhya Pradesh department of sports and youth welfare for the year 2018. She received the award on 4th of October, 2018 from sports minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia and wrestler Sushil Kumar, in Bhopal.
Juhi with the prestigious Vikram Award
In her final year of B.Com now, Juhi intends to study further. Her family also hopes that she will land a good job after having received such a prestigious award and gotten recognized by the government. Her coach Raju said to TOI, “She is a god-gifted girl. I have never seen a player winning Vikram award beating such odds.”
The determination with which Juhi has risen from the difficult circumstances is truly awe-inspiring. This strong young lady now plans to study further and support her family while also moving ahead in her sports career.