With driver in tow, Paralympic body takes everyone for a ride
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With driver in tow, Paralympic body takes everyone for a ride

The Paralympic Committee of India has time and again sent people as escorts for the para-athletes when they travel for tournaments, yet their choice of candidates is often questionable.

other sports Updated: Jul 14, 2017 21:25 IST
Paralympic Committee of India,PCI,Kanchanmala Pande
The Paralympic Committee of India, which governs para-athletes in the country, is under the scanner for a variety of reasons. (AFP)

Bhim Singh could at best be described as someone who drives a vehicle for an official of the Haryana Paralympic Committee.

However, he was nominated to accompany the team as an official for the World Para-Athletics Championships that got underway in London on Friday.

Proposed by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), his name was rejected by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

But Bhim Singh, it is learnt, has managed to accompany the Indian squad as ‘team escort’.

READ | PCI says could not withdraw money for Kanchanmala Pande due to court matters

The name of Girraj Singh, also an official of Haryana Paralympic Committee, too was not cleared by the government for the world meet. However, he too will accompany the team.

Bhim Singh, it is learnt, does odd jobs for Girraj Singh. In the PCI list, Bhim Singh is named as team escort while Girraj is coach.

The duo has the backing of Rao Inderjit Singh, the chief of the Haryana unit.

Dalip Kumar Singh, a SAI official, said that some persons nominated by PCI were found ineligible for the job they were entrusted to do while in London.

READ | Kumari Sangeeta, national pole vault champion, ignored by athletics officials

“There were doubts so both Bhim Singh and Giriraj Singh weren’t cleared by the government. If they have gone, it is the responsibility of PCI,” he added.

The SAI however cleared the name of Group Captain (retd.) Shahrukh Shamshad as team manager but at ‘no cost to government’. Shamshad is also the CEO of PCI.

When asked why someone not familiar with para-athletes was nominated for the global meet, the CEO was defensive in his reply. “There is always a need to escort an athlete as they have some kind of disability,” he added.

While SAI has cleared only 39 members, many more have gone either on their own or on PCI funds.

IPC elections

As many as five officials of PCI, including vice president Gurcharan Singh, have gone to London for the world meet. The PCI, it is learnt, has spent over R10 lakh for the trip.

This comes after the PCI failed to manage funds for para-swimmer Kanchanmala Pande who participated in an international meet in Berlin from July 3-9.

The Indian officials, it is learnt, are campaigning for PCI chief Rao Inderjit Singh, who is eyeing a post in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The elections of IPC general assembly will be held on September 7 and 8 in Abu Dhabi.

READ | Indian para-athletes eye repeat of Rio performance in London World Championship

Shamshad said: “Some officials and their family have come to London, but PCI is not funding their trip. They are spending their own money,” he said.

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 21:25 IST