I am writing to you from the London Paralympics Games Village. I am affected by polio but have been power-lifting since 2000. I was even honoured with the Arjuna Award.
My wife, Antonia, sold her jewellery so that I could represent India at the Games. She was also supposed to help me get my way around during the events. She’s my soulmate and I owe my success to her.
Sadly, she’s stranded outside the Village because the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) members are using the free facilities meant for athletes and their support staff.
That’s why I filed a petition on Change.org, requesting sports minister Ajay Maken to take strict action against the PCI members for their conduct and derecognise the body.
Stop treating Indian Paralympians as second-class citizens.
Even my coach, Sadanand Malashetti, who has trained me for years, couldn’t access the Village even though his name was on the list provided by the Indian government.
The actions of the PCI have humiliated me and my fellow athletes. Prior to the event, I was lifting 170kg in the 48kg class, but when I was informed that my coach and wife would not be allowed to enter the Village, my performance dipped and I couldn’t even lift 148 kg!
Overcoming these difficulties, after a lot of hard work and emotional upheaval, I managed a fifth place in the power-lifting event.
After the event, when I asked for a pass for my wife, who is my escort, I was denied the pass since the PCI wanted to punish me for complaining against them.
Please join me in helping Indian Paralympic players get the recognition they deserve. The minister of sports should take strict action against the corrupt practices of the PCI.
The writer, a powerlifter, took part in the London Paralympics.