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Indian Para-Athletes Forced to Borrow Money in Germany due to Negligence of the Authorities

The Para-Swimmers were forced to pay for their hotel and food expenses during Berlin Tournament

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The Para-Swimming championship was a harrow experience for the Indian athletes. Source: Pixabay
  • Indian para-athletes face financial difficulties in the Para-Swimming Championship held in Germany
  • The coach assigned to these athletes was of no help, being absent during some of the main events
  • The blunder caused by the concerned authorities made the athletes borrow money in an unfamiliar place.

New Delhi, July 13, 2017: Kanchanmala Pande who was one of the five Indian para-athletes to participate in the Para-Swimming Championship held in Germany was forced to borrow money as the funds sanctioned by the Indian government for this swimmers’ tournament did not reach them.

Based in Nagpur, she is blind and participates in the S11 category. She had to go through extreme hardship and torment during her Berlin trip due to the alleged blunder made by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).

Being a para-athlete, she very well knows how to make her way through the tide. She was so dedicated to swimming in this tournament that she made efforts herself to raise around Rs 5 lakh in an unknown place.

She along with five more people participating in this championship in the capital of German from 3rd to 9th July underwent a crucifying experience due to the irresponsibility of the concerned authorities. The PCI has put the blame on the Sports Authority of India for this harrowing affair.

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But this episode failed to prevent the athletes from shining. In the face of all odds,Subash Jadhav and Kanchanmala triumphed with silver medals and were successful in qualifying for the World Championships. The qualifying point was beaten by 26-aged Kanchanmala in 100m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke, 100m Breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley, in which a silver medal was backed by her. She turned out to be India’s only swimmer in the female category to qualify for the World Para-Swimming Championships this year, mentioned TOI report.

Kanchanmala and Jaimala Pande, her escort were included in the contingent of Berlin that was permitted government sponsorship. However, the PCI did not supply her the funds and she had no option but to pay for her food and hotel expenses. She said, “I was not given any official confirmation if I will receive a reimbursement for the expense I bore. I had to pay around Rs 70,000 for the hotel and more than Rs 40,000 for food. There was a time when I had no money left. I was simply devastated.”

The swimmers had to make arrangements for their visas as well, which added a separate Rs 15,000 to the cost. Kanchanmala was devastated when she noticed her name was put in the event of 50m backstroke by the PCI but she had applied for the 100m backstroke.

Kawaljeet Singh, their coach was of no help as, during the main and crucial events, he frequently went missing. He even went to extent of asking for 90 pounds (Rs 7,462) as a participation fee. She said that a coach is meant to assist and take care of his athletes but she didn’t see that in Singh.

She narrated an incident in which she travelled by a tram once from the venue of the tournament to her hotel without any money. She was forced to travel with no ticket and unfortunately, a checker caught her and later fined her for 120 pounds ( approximately Rs 10,000).

The vice-president of PCI, Gurucharan Singh stated that the amount for the tournament had not been sanctioned by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and that refund will be provided to all the swimmers in monetary terms.

“I hope a repeat of this will not happen in the future,” she said after qualifying for second World Championship. “Athletes, especially the disabled, are meant to be treated with respect and such incidents shouldn’t be tolerated. Now that I have qualified, I want to train hard and win medals. I am getting to my best and with proper guidance and training, hope to have a successful campaign in Mexico.”

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter: Hkaur1025

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Sri Lanka To Get a $1 Billion Loan From China

In October, Sri Lanka received orders worth at least $15 million at the China International Import Expo (CIIE)

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Sri Lanka to convert garbage dumps into urban parks
This is a Sri Lankan flag. Sri Lanka to convert garbage dumps into urban parks. wikimedia commons

Sri Lanka will get a $1 billion loan from China, its biggest lender and might sign a free trade agreement with Beijing, becoming the third country to ink such a pact in India’s neighbourhood.

Sri Lankan envoy to Beijing Karunasena Kodituwakku, who made the announcement here, said it was wrong to accuse China of pushing the South Asian island nation into a debt trap.

Sri Lanka will soon sign a concessional loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China to borrow $1 billion to fund a major highway from Colombo to its second largest city Kandy, Kodituwakku said on Tuesday at a briefing, apparently only for select media.

The money will be used for the first stage of the central highway and the second stage will be financed by Sri Lankan consortiums and the third by Japanese loans, the Global Times quoted him as saying.

It was not clear if the envoy was talking about the same $1 billion loan which his country’s top bank official said will come from the Export-Import Bank of China.

Sri Lanka is trying to limp back to normalcy after being hit by a deep political crisis last year that plunged the credit rating of the already-indebted country.

The Chinese have made deep inroads into the strategically located nation in the Indian Ocean and have a 100-year lease of the Hambantota Port after Sri Lanka failed to pay back loans.

US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an "incorrect map" of China.
Accurate Map of China, Pixabay

Beijing’s growing presence in Sri Lanka worries India which held considerable clout in the country.

The envoy also said that Sri Lanka was in talks with China on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“They have reached consensus on many issues, but (the agreement) isn’t finalised,” said the Ambassador. “We hope this year will be the critical year to finalize it.”

If materialised, Sri Lanka will be the third South Asian country to sign such a pact after Pakistan and the Maldives.

The new Maldivian government is rethinking on its FTA as it believes that the pact is blindly in favour of Beijing.

Kodituwakku also revealed that Sri Lanka was negotiating with the China Development Bank for short-term loans.

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Image source: youtube.com

He slammed the Western media’s allegations that China’s financial assistance to Sri Lanka had led it into a debt trap.

“We don’t agree with that. China never forced us to take a loan… If there is something wrong with the loans we have taken, it’s our responsibility. It’s not fair to blame China or another country, saying Sri Lanka is a victim,” he said.

He emphasised that it was on Sri Lanka’s request that China provided funds, especially the development assistance.

“This year Sri Lanka has to settle nearly $4 billion, and the country has more than $8 billion in reserves. But we cannot use all that money just to pay back. We have to keep a minimum balance,” he said.

According to the Ambassador, the Colombo port was a very crucial transit port serving India.

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India’s strong economy will prop up the port as a successful entity. He hopes Chinese firms can turn the Hambantota Port into a successful facility.

In October, Sri Lanka received orders worth at least $15 million at the China International Import Expo (CIIE).

“We would like to enhance exports to the Chinese market,” he said, adding the items could include tea, jam, vegetables, fish and natural rubber-based products.

“We also invite more Chinese investors to invest in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan exports have concessional access to US, Indian and European markets. They can come to take advantage of these opportunities.” (IANS)