Indian para-athletes, who had virtually given up on hopes of participating in the London Olympics, can heave a sigh of relief. The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) on Friday announced the restoration of its recognition by the sports ministry.
Though the last date for entries have passed, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is considering the inclusion of the Indian contingent as a special case and the PCI is awaiting a confirmation from the IPC.
The PCI had not conducted elections, which were due in May, and was derecognized by the ministry. Elections were finally held in accordance with the ministry's guidelines on July 29. “The PCI is back to its functioning form and we are happy to inform the athletes that they can now take part in the London Olympics under the purview of PCI,” Sultan Ahmed, the newly-elected PCI president, told HT.
“Though some time has been lost, I believe all is not lost. We still have a few qualifying events left and our athletes can make it to the London Paralympics,” said Rathan Singh, secretary general of the body. While some para-athletes welcomed the decision, others rued the missed opportunities. "I've lost almost eight months due to the tussle. Most qualifying events were held during that period. My rank has also suffered but something is better than nothing,” said a senior para-athlete.