The sporting feat of a budding visually challenged chess sensation has gone completely unnoticed and unrewarded at a time when stellar performances of Odia athletes in the just-concluded Asian Games in Indonesia were widely acclaimed both by the State government and the private sector. Twenty-year-old Soundarya Kumar Pradhan won a silver medal at the 10th IBCA World Individual Junior Chess Championship for the Blind and Visually Impaired held in Poland in the third week of August. His feat assumes even greater significance considering the financial and infrastructure obstacles he faced in his journey from Boden in Odisha’s Nuapada district – one of the poorest and most backward regions of the country. “For a visually challenged, it was never easy to travel to Poland and compete with the best in the game. It hurts when nobody comes forward and pats your back when you bring laurels for the country against all odds,” rued Mr. Soundarya. He was a born with Leber congenital amaurosis, a disease genetically passed through families. It, however, did not deter him from dreaming. Initiated into chess at the age of four, Mr. Soundarya has been performing consistently in the game. He emerged as the champion at the national level on a couple of occasions and also won the bronze at the Asia Pacific Chess Championship for the Blind and Visually Impaired held in Karnataka in 2017 before clinching the silver last month.When Mr. Soundarya was finally felicitated by Lex Publicio, a Bhubaneswar-based law firm, here on Monday, he said it would be difficult to move ahead without support. Recently, Odia sprinter Dutee Chand was awarded ₹ 3 crore for her double silver in the Asian Games, while four members of the Indian women hockey team were given ₹1 crore each for coming second.