Mostak Ahmed, the first ever sportsman to be awarded Swadhinata Padak, the highest civilian award of the country, sought help from the government to make a living.
Mostak, a legendary long-distance runner who won as many as 69 gold medals at national level in 400-metre, 800-metre and 1500-metre race, was given Swadhinata Padak in 1977 when it was first inaugurated.
A freedom fighter and retired honorary captain of Bangladesh Army, Mostak, 64, is now leading a quiet life with his brother in Beanibazar, Sylhet after he was evicted from land that the government leased out to him by the Roads and Highway department.
Mostak said he got the court verdict against the Roads and Highway department but could not take the possession as he has no backing from powerful people.
His eldest son currently lives in United Kingdom but cannot support the family the way he should have. One other son runs a small shop and he also cannot support the family.
Two other sons are currently unemployed and live with their parents, whose only income source is the freedom fighter allowance and pension from the army.
‘This is very little for us to make a living,’ said the former athlete by phone.
Mostak sought for monthly allowance from the National Sports Council in August but yet to get any response.
NSC secretary Ashoke Kumar Biswas acknowledged that they have received his application months ago but could not take any decision as there is no rule in this regard.
‘There is no option for us to give any monthly allowance to any individual other than the members of Swidhin Bangla Football Team,’ he said.
‘I have already forwarded the matter to higher authority and they will have to make a decision now,’ he added.
Mostak in a chocked voice said that all his achievements as an athlete have become useless as he is lagging behind in the race of life.
‘Every day I am racing with poverty, which left me exhausted,’ he said.
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