Delhi-based Paralympic marksman Naresh Kumar Sharma wanted to begin the 2013 season on a high note by competing in the upcoming international event in Poland. But his dreams have been shattered by the internal strife within the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), the national governing body that
looks after the interests of Paralympic athletes.
The Poland event assumes importance as it is one of the qualifying events for next year's World Cup. "It is very upsetting. I had been training hard for Poland," Sharma said on the PCI's apathetic attitude.
Due to the tussle within the PCI for key positions, the Delhi shooter is not the only to be disappointed. The entire Paralympic community is facing an uphill task.
Indian Paralympic athletes, who did the country proud at the 2012 London Games, may not get a chance to compete in global tournaments in the near future. "My chances of taking part in the World Athletics Meet in July look doubtful," said discus thrower Amit Saroha, who was a member of the contingent at the London Paralympics.
After the para-athletes gave a good account of themselves in London, high jumper HN Girisha won silver, it was expected that the PCI would make efforts to add to the medals tally in future internationals events.
"Instead, the federation is busy fighting over petty issues," said national-level swimming coach VK Dabas. "It's unfortunate that nobody is thinking about the welfare of the players," he said on no national camp being held to train athletes.
Recently, during the PCI's annual general body meeting in the Capital, almost all the officials present turned unruly which resulted in the meeting getting adjourned. Apart from the allegations of misuse of funds, some PCI members are also being accused of taking money from players.
"The money I spent during the London Games is yet to be reimbursed. If there is further delay, I might have to protest," said Sharma.
Despite the PCI's functioning coming under the scanner, JP Singh, an executive committee member of the federation, presented a different picture. "We have approached the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to approve the proposal to hold national camps. Hope things will be sorted out soon," he said.