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Home > Sports > Hockey > PTI > Report

Crunch time for cancer-afflicted Olympian

June 13, 2004 22:05 IST

Vivek Singh desperately wants the national hockey team to win a medal at the Olympics, for it would inspire him to continue his battle against lung cancer, which is threatening to cut short his life.

The 37-year Olympian, an office superintendent with North Eastern Railway, was first diagnosed and treated for urinary bladder cancer in 2000. But doctors last year detected that the cancer had spread to other parts of his body including the lungs.

However, the fighter in the former player is not ready to give up hope.

"Death comes to everyone. In my case it's different since I know how it is coming. But I don't fear since I have not lost hope. I will fight against it," the Varanasi-based Vivek said at the Palam airport in Delhi en route to Mumbai, where he will be treated at the Tata Memorial cancer hospital.

"I can't allow the fear to dominate me as I have the will power to fight against the odds."

The centre-half, who represented India in the Seoul Olympics in 1988, Champions Trophy in Germany in 1989, Lahore World Cup and the Beijing Asian Games in 1990, said during his playing days he was regarded as a defensive player, but a twist in fate has made him more aggressive.

"I am fighting the disease aggressively, not allowing it to subdue me."

Vivek, who played close to 200 internationals for the country, is yet to receive any help from the Indian Hockey Federation.

"I think there should be a fund for players who face such a time in their life. Any one can get this disease. So the fund would definitely offer help to the afflicted players.

"I have written a letter to the IHF but I am yet to get a response. But still I hope they will do something."

Vivek said he wants his children -- two daughters -- to play for the country in the Olympics.

"I want my daughters to be hockey players and play in the Olympics.

"I also want to do something for the country. Having played in the Olympics, I want to pass on my skills to a youngster who can play for India in future."

Vivek said he is being look after well by his employers, the Railways.

The former player was overwhelmed by a gesture from the Hockey Journalists Association, which handed him contributions collected from well-wishers.

"You all have taken the initiative and have been supporting my cause. I am proud of you all. I am really grateful as you have presented me with a purse in a crucial time of my life. I am honoured by this grand gesture. I hope your well wishes will carry me through this crisis."

Meanwhile, Vivek's brother, former international Rahul Singh, said he would also explore the possibility of meeting Sports Minister Sunil Dutt.

"My brother came here last night from Delhi to meet Dr Parekh at the Tata Memorial Hospital for cancer treatment. He's fighting the disease in a brave manner and has undergone chemotherapy treatment in the past," Rahul said in Mumbai on Sunday.

He said that according to the doctors his brother has been stricken with an aggressive form of cancer.

"Now we all intend to meet Mr Sunil Dutt if he's in Mumbai (to present Vivek's case)," Rahul added.

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