At a time when para-lifters are struggling to prepare for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games due to the lack of basic training apparatus, HT has learnt that 10 sets of imported power-lifting equipment, procured in June 2010 costing $57,600 (around 30 lakh) for the Delhi Commonwealth Games, are gathering dust at different Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres.
Instead of sending the equipment to the SAI centre in Gandhinagar, where the para-lifters are training, SAI has opted for a bench purchased from a sports dealer in Patiala. Two weeks after the national camp got underway, one rod, a set of disc weights and the locally-made bench reached the centre on Tuesday.
Adding to the woes was the fact that the bench is not as per specification, hence the fate of the camp hangs in balance with no proper training possible. The bench that reached Gandhinagar is uniformly wide while a para-athlete needs a bench that is narrow at one end.
“All I can say is that for the last two weeks I have not been able to train properly because of lack of equipment. Instead of improvement, my performance is going down and medal hopes are receding,” said Arjuna awardee Farman Basha.
Since SAI sent only one weightlifting set for the camp, whenever the lifters start using it, it won’t be possible for all the campers to train together. “Why can’t SAI send the benches bought at the time of the Delhi CWG here? It is world-class equipment and will help us train better,” said Basha.
Despite the specification being mailed to the sports goods dealer by the coach, the bench is not up to the mark and to rectify the mistake, SAI officials at Gandhinagar have now sent it to a local workshop to get it altered as per the para-lifters’ needs.
“God knows when we’ll able to train on it and hopefully we don’t sustain an injury after using it,” said another lifter, who is yet to join the camp.