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Differently-abled athletes staying at unfurnished buildings in Ghaziabad, forced to sleep on floor

Around 700 differently-abled athletes participating in a National Para-Athletic Championship have been provided stay at a partially constructed building in Ghaziabad, a national daily reported on Sunday.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2015 23:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
differently-abled athletes,National Para-Athletic Championship,Paralympic Committee of India

Nearly 1,200 athletes, who participated in the three-day National Para-Athletics Championships, at Matiala village in Ghaziabad returned dejected with lack of facilities and indifference of organisers they encountered.

The athletes were reportedly more aggrieved with the alleged insensitive attitude of organisers. They alleged that they were threatened and disqualified from their events arbitrarily.

Deepali Singh from Rajasthan said that she won around 100 different medals in her events like javelin, shot-put and discus throw. “I was disqualified and turned out assigning no reason from shot-put and discus throw events. I was given a chance only in javelin throw. All our players objected but no one listened,” she said.

Even other athletes like Mukesh Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Ilyas Khan and Munshi Ram from Rajasthan were not allowed to participate. Some of these men are medal holders and also serving in government jobs.

“The organisers told us that we are not differently-abled and not allowed to participate. The organisers even clubbed some events together to save on medals,” Mukesh said.

Most athletes were trying hard to win medals as many state governments offer them cash awards, which are used by players for their training. Rajasthan offers Rs 2.5 lakh, Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 50,000 for gold, silver and bronze medal winners. Haryana offers Rs 3 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh to winners of gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively.

A win from Ghaziabad event ensured that athletes qualify to participate in upcoming para-games to be held in May in Delhi and then make a bid to paralympic games in 2016.

Jyoti Sharma, who holds two medals each at national and state level in shot-put event, said she was disqualified without assigning any reason after three throws.

“Even when we objected over partial attitude as our players were turned away, we were threatened and not allowed to speak. We are used to inadequate arrangement, but organisers’ attitude has hurt us more,” said Ashok Meena from Rajasthan.

“There was a DJ party held here on the night of March 20 where people were drunk and dancing. When we arrived, there was some objection and we were told that ‘this is Zila Ghaziabad, so don’t mess with us’,” he added.

Even athletes from Kerala team felt dejected and alleged ‘dishonest’ attitude on part of organising officials. “I won gold medal in shot-put but my name appears nowhere in the final list. I am made to run to different rooms but no one is listening. I have a train on Monday and don’t know whether my issue would be resolved or not,” said Pramod MP from Kerala.

Some athletes on Sunday also claimed they received calls asking them not to speak to the media.

First Published: Mar 22, 2015 12:30 IST