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Devbrat Patnaik

Jharsuguda: Off she started her journey some two decades ago with an aim to secure the basic necessities of family. Life may have taken an ugly turn for Tanuja Bage in between but she can finally celebrate the moment because after fighting all odds she's found herself exactly where she had started from.

Once a goalkeeper of the Indian women's football team, Tanuja Bage of Debadihi village in Jharsuguda district has been appointed as a Sports Co-ordinator at JMD company, an associated company of Vedanta Ltd, which means she can finally stop herding goats in her village.

The information was shared by Odisha Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera.

She was just 14 when she started her football training under Vedanta’s corporate social responsibility programme in 2003. Between 2003 and 2011, Tanuja was selected in Odisha team and then in national football and rugby teams. She had also played several international matches.

But she quit football in 2011 and was reportedly appointed as a Police home guard in Jharsuguda but that didn't reduce her struggle. Even when she availed an opportunity to train students of a private school, the meagre salary there failed to make her ends meet.

All the major trophies and certificates Tanuja had received suddenly were of no use for her and the condition became so miserable that she started rearing goats and washing utensils at others' houses.

A year ago when OTV showed her plight, Jharsuguda collector Jyotiranjan Pradhan assured that the administration will look into the matter and extend all possible help to the footballer. He had also assured to make arrangements that will ensure she earns a living through a decently-paid job.

Happiness knew no bounds for Ollywood actor Sabyasachi Mishra who had recently pitched in to extend help to Tanuja. "I am very happy for TANUJA BAGE didi. She can produce many good players for our state football," an elated Sabyasachi mentioned in a tweet, while expressing gratitude to Sports department officials, Vedanta Ltd and CM Naveen Patnaik for helping her regain a lost fame.

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