She won a bronze in the 8th Asia Pacific Deaf Games held in Taiwan but participating in the event was not an easy task for 19-year-old Parul Gupta.
Her father Avinash Gupta, a resident of Patiala’s Sular Road area, said though his daughter’s name had been sent to the officials, she was removed from the list made by the All India Sports Council for Deaf (AISCD).
Avinash said they got to know that her name was not included after they landed in Taiwan for the games which were held from October 3 to 11. He said the council officials told them they were not able to pay the accreditation fee due to a shortage of funds and asked them to return home.
“Dejected, we staged a protest against the authorities and we got huge support from the Asian players,” said Avinash.
He said despite all the odds, Parul participated in the games as the match schedule had already been fixed with her name and won the bronze medal.
High drama was witnessed again on the day prizes were being distributed after officials asked Parul to pay the accreditation fee in order to get the medal. Avinash said he paid $60 from his pocket so that his daughter could receive her prize.
Lack of government aid
Even after earning laurels for her country, Parul has not received due recognition for her achievements and her life has not changed for the better.
Parul, who has been playing international tennis since 2013, is still struggling to get financial aid from the government.
Though Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia gave her a cheque for Rs 2 lakh in 2014, Avinash said it’s not enough for the three coaches they have hired to train her and he is bearing the expenses from his own pocket.
Parul also cannot travel alone to any championship like other children due to her disability.
“One person from the family and from the coaching staff has to accompany her to the international event which is also a burden on our pocket. I have approached many sponsors, but to no avail. The government help also seems a distant dream,” said Avinash.
The father of Parul’s partner Shaik Jafreen, who also won the bronze in the games after a struggle against the authorities, said he would take legal action against the AISCD.
“Someone should be held accountable for the harassment faced by both the players,” Shaik Zakeer Ahmad, who belongs to Hyderabad, said.