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World Dwarf Games champion Jobby George’s car detained at Kochi airport

Jobby George won six medals at the World Dwarf Games in Ontario and was part of the 15-member Indian team which bagged 37 medals.

other sports Updated: Aug 19, 2017 10:17 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
World Dwarf Games,Jobby George,Dwarf athlete detained
The members of the Indian team at the World Dwarf Games held recently in Ontario, Canada.(HT Photo)

He brought laurels to the country, winning six medals in the just-concluded World Dwarf Games in Canada. On his triumphant home-coming a rude jolt was awaiting Jobby George at the Kochi International Airport on Thursday.

George’s hired car was detained at the airport parking for nearly 30 minutes. The reason: It violated traffic rules. Jobby (41), physically-challenged from birth, had requested the driver to pick him up from the exit gate due to the heavy rush. But authorities detained the car with Jobby inside and chained the exit gate. He was allowed to leave only after some of his friends intervened.

“Everything was fine till Kochi. All three flights we boarded from Canada, including Air Canada, made inflight announcements that they were proud to have us on board. We got a felicitation at the airport too. But when I came to board my car, I realised I am not a champ but only a differently-abled person,” Jobby, who has 24 world medals, shared his bitter experience with Hindustan Times.

Jobby, who was part of the 15-member Indian team bagged 37 medals in World Dwarf Games in Ontario, said he suffered humiliation silently and did not make any fuss.

“Some of my friends alerted the media about this. It really pained me. I travelled in many airports but never experienced such a treatment. If a person like me can face such ignominy in my country what about other disabled. Why are we so indifferent to differently-abled,” he asked.

He said he was in little hurry to reach his house since Thursday was his son’s birthday.

Jobby bagged six medals this time -- a gold in power-lifting, three sliver medals in shot put, javelin and discus and a bronze in doubles badminton. A resident of Pala (Kottayam district), he had bagged five gold medals in the 2013 Games. “I love to scale many heights but incidents like this pull me back,” he said adding that some of the parking staff members were apologetic but pleaded helplessness.

An official of the airport claimed that parking officials only followed the rule and his vehicle was allowed to proceed when they came know about the occupant.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 10:04 IST