Paralympic Championships: Indian Authorities Disgraced

The Paralympic athletes of India who made their way to Ghaziabad for the 15th edition of the National Paralympic Championships were in for a rude shock. Brimming with optimism and hopes of winning a medal or two, all their hopes vanished at the sight of the accommodations provided.

Flashback: 2010 Commonwealth Games

Analyzing the current situation, one cannot help but turn the clock back to the 2010 Commonwealth games in New Delhi. Apart from the scams that saw Suresh Kalmadi wind up in the Tihar prison, a major controversy was triggered with respect to the living conditions. However, a heroic turnaround from the Indian army and then Prime minister Manmohan Singh ensured better living conditions for the athletes.

National Paralympic Championships: Unfit living conditions for athletes


The terrible living conditions provided to the athletes competing in the 2015 National Paralympic Games

Following the embarrassment of the commonwealth games, the Indian sports authorities are once again at the receiving end. And rightly so. The 15th National Para-Athletic Championships, which were supposed to last three days without any glitches, has now become a symbol of national embarrassment.

The apathy shown by the authorities thus far has been stunning. The differently-abled athletes, were put up in a building under renovation in Ghaziabad. Wheelchair impaired athletes had to descend from their wheelchair, drag themselves up the stairs and into the building. Moreover, no special bathrooms were attached, and the ones that were there were without a drop of water! For many, this is unacceptable and for others, a clear violation of human rights.

Therefore, there is an entire host of questions to be answered by the sports authorities. Why the sub-standard facilities for athletes that will one day be representing our country? Why this ignorance about the needs of the differently-abled athletes? What happens from here?

Funds- The only problem?

When questioned by the media, organizers were quick to seek refuge citing “insufficient funds (approximately ₹200,000) and “lack of sponsors”. Although a case can be made for the number of participants rising exponentially, there is no excuse for the sub-standard living conditions provided.

Having said that, the fiasco has succeeded in arousing awareness among the sports authorities. Here is what Sarbananda Sonawal, the sports minister, had to say on his Twitter account, and one hopes the honorable Minister will help bring the much needed change.

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