It’s nearly 10 months since Ram Karan Singh, a Delhi-based athlete, has been running from pillar to post to clear his dues worth Rs. 90000 from the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
Ram Karan, who won silver in the 800m race at the Incheon Asian Games, says that the PCI officials refuse to understand his plight.
“I had borrowed money to compete in the qualifying event for Incheon, but now have to take time off from studies and sports to run after officials to get the money back,” the Arjuna awardee told HT.
His ordeal began in May last year when he set sights on a podium finish at the para events of the Asiad in Korea. Since it’s mandatory to achieve the qualifying mark, he had no option but to compete in the eighth Tunis International in Tunisia, one of the qualifying events for the Games.
The PCI expressed its inability to support the athletes for the Tunis trip, and asked them to pay. To fuel his passion, Ram Karan collected funds from friends and associates.
He was promised a refund as the Sports Authority of India (SAI) was yet to clear the trip.
“Since I was eager to qualify for Incheon I had no choice but to pay,” he said.His plight reflects the way PCI functions. Internal bickering forced the sports ministry to ask the federation to set its house in order.
Satyanarayana, a PCI official who accompanied the team to Tunisia, said that the federation was not holding back any money and blamed the SAI.
“We have submitted the bills and are waiting for clearance. The moment we get the money, we will pay him,” he said.
There are others athletes who had paid for the trip and the PCI has not refunded them as well. A top SAI official said that PCI had submitted the bills late.
“Without proper accounts, it’s not possible to clear bills.” the official said.
Given that the PCI is embroiled in controversies, the ministry recently issued a showcause notice to the federation for its inability to provide basic facilities to competitors during the national meet, and its suspension by the International Paralympic Committee. Ram Karan’s troubles seem far from over.