A baby-sitter in Assam, Jinu Gogoi became a champion at Khelo India Youth Games on January 15 by clinching a bronze in U-21 girls pair event at the lawn bowl green. Jinu had just started bowling three months ago after watching her employer, Bima Borah play the sport at the Sarusajai Complex while taking care of the 10-month-old child. Gogoi managed to master the sport and 90 days later, partnered with Karina Patowary, claimed bronze.
Gogoi belongs to Charaideo in Upper Assam and her mother works in a tea garden in Sivasagar which is managed by Borah's husband. It was after Borah gave birth to a child when Jinu was employed as a caretaker to help around with the work. The bronze-winner was motivated to take the job as a caretaker was because her father suffers from cancer and it was his treatments which forced her to drop out of her school after tenth grade.
However, Gogoi got emotional after her victory and dedicated the medal to her father. She has also resolved to utilise her reward from the game into the treatment of her cancer-stricken father. Borah has also acknowledged that she wanted to help Gogoi out of a “tough situation” and said that she sees room for great improvement after more training.
“When I got her here I was hoping I could get her out of a tough situation and also educate her, and elevate her,” Borah said. “It may be just a bronze, but it has come after just three months of training. I can see her continuing and getting much better very soon.”
While Gogoi's determination got her bronze in lawn bowls, Assam's Gongutri Bordoloi returned to cycling after half-a-decade and won the U-21 girls road race cycling gold medal. Five years back, Bordoloi suffered a massive road accident while training which broke her collarbone along with multiple lacerations and injuries that kept her off the sport for over a year.
"When she saw my state, my mother put her foot down, and told me to give up the sport," the 17-year-old said. "But my father, a policeman, stood by my side, fought for me and made me cling on to my passion when I could have been down and almost out."