Paralympian Rajinder Singh Rahelu, who is back in the city after winning two bronze medals for the country at the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Asian Open Championship held at Kuala Lampur in Malaysia, from November 3 to 7, has asked the state government to reimburse him and his teammates for the expenses they had to bear to participate in the tournament.
Due to the ongoing tussle between various units of the International Paralympics Council (IPC), the Sports Authority of India had reportedly refused to sponsor the participants, forcing them to pay from their own pockets.
“Each member of my team spent `40,000 for the return ticket, and deposited more than `55,000 as entry fee for the tournament, besides bearing miscellaneous expenses,” he said.
“The Bangaluru unit of the IPC gave us the letter of authorization to represent the country, and the Delhi unit finalised our programme. We do not wish to indulge in the politics going on between the units of IPC. We wish only to play for the country. However, we should be compensated for the money we have spent,” Rahelu said.
“The government should take care of the needs of the sportspersons who have brought laurels for the country and the state. We have seen that the government help is available only for selected sports, which is unjustified,” he alleged.
An Arjuna awardee, Rahelu has qualified for the World Powerlifting Championship scheduled to be held in Dubai next year on the basis of his performance in the Asian championship.
Rahelu, who was part of a five-member contingent representing the country, had secured bronze medals in the 72kg category. Varinder Singh (Mallah), Jatinder Singh Brar (Bhatinda), Kuldeep Singh (Jaiton) and Joginder Singh Saluja (Delhi) comprised the rest of his team. This was Rahelu's third appearance in the tournament. He had earlier won gold and silver medals.
He was made a powerlifting coach at the Para Sports Academy here in 2010, on the basis of the medal he won in 2004.