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No country for special athletes? Why India fails them time and again

para-athletes

By Santosh Dubey

Irregularities in public and private sectors have become a very common practice. Few days back, one case of such irregularity was flashed on almost every news channel and was covered by almost all the main stream media.

This irregularity was about the functioning (read dysfunctioning) of the Paralympic committee of India (PCI) which comes under the Ministry of Youth and sports affairs. This institution is equivalent to the Indian Olympic association, but it’s not the first time that it came into news for irregularities in its functioning.

Recently, concluded 15 National Para Athletic Championship was a clear reflection of corruption, dishonesty and failure of the sports in the country. It was also a matter of shame that we failed our special athletes, yet again.

Why PCI is at fault?

The PCI President Rajesh Tomar always talks about the inappropriate funding for the event. But even his excuse gives birth to a new question that if he doesn’t have enough funding then why does PCI organizes such events which fail time and again?

If we look back to the past events like World Games-2009, Summer Para Olympic Games-2012 and The  Para Asian Games-2014. All these big events had a lot  many complaints against the PCI. Not only this, issues were raised against the selection process of the Para Olympians. Many such cases of irregularities in the selection process have been highlighted in the past.

International wheel chair table tennis player Vijay Kumar confirmed, ” I was ranked first in T-5 category of the Asian Games trial, then too I was not selected for the tour. I took this matter to the court and in spite of the Sports Ministry’s approval of my name, the PCI did not send me for the Asian Games.” This was one case of irregularity in the selection process of players.

Apart from this, players have always complained of lack of facilities (read no support) provided to them. International Wheel chair table tennis player and Gold medalist Suvarna Raj says we are not provided even with the basic facilities of a player. Neither we are given proper training, nor we are facilitated with the escort facilities. Sharing an instance, she tells” The Sports Ministry had sanctioned two lady escorts for three lady wheel chair table tennis player, But PCI did not allow them to go to the Asian Games last year. Due to this, we had to face mental stress during the Game and could not perform well.”

Altogether , this is not the problem of  player like Suvarna and Vijay, But it is some way related to the national and social pride.  Major problem on this issue is that, if PCI is not able  to hold its responsibility, then why it is dragging  the things. It should not play with the decorum of a game and national pride.

What needs to be done

Sports Ministry, who is the parental body of this institution should look into the matter very carefully and resolve the problem permanently.

Talking about the condition of PCI, Activist of disabled rights and President’s medal awardee Pradeep Raj says” Along with the PCI, Sports Authority of India, Table Tennis Federation of India and top officials of the sports ministry  do neglect these disabled players. There is corruption in the whole process of Para games and should be checked properly by the Sports Ministry.”

It’s high time we stop failing those who battle their disabilities to be a part of the society. As a nation we need to stand up and give what these wonderful and superhuman beings deserve- respect and a chance to excel.

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