IOA seeks more berths for wheelchair athletes support staff
A day after the Paralympic Committee of India complained to the union sports ministry against IOA, the apex sports body’s officials met the PCI general secretary Gursharan Singh
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has sought additional berths from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games organising committee to include more ‘dedicated escorts’ for wheelchair Para athletes.
A day after the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) complained to the union sports ministry of "unfair treatment" in allocating quotas for its support staff and officials, IOA called PCI secretary general Gursharan Singh for a meeting on Tuesday.
“We have sent PCI’s recommendation for additional quotas to the CWG local organising committee. If they are entitled to more allocation, they will get it,” said IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta. “PCI never reached out to us with these issues. They have instead gone to the Sports Ministry. They have spoken to us for the first time today,” said Mehta, who along with acting IOA president Anil Khanna met Singh.
For 18 Para athletes, IOA has allocated PCI seven support staff—four coach-cum-escorts and three separate escorts, one of whom was to also act as support staff. The Para athletes will compete in athletics, swimming, powerlifting and table tennis.
PCI had sought dedicated escorts for the wheelchair athletes as per International Paralympic Committee (IPC) guidelines. India have eight wheelchair athletes. They had also asked for for four coaches, one per discipline, and two officials.
“It is mandatory for the organising committee to allot quotas for escorts. Our athletes have got their quotas by name in June. IOA should have put forward this request earlier. However, they have now understood our issue and have asked for more allocation,” Singh said.
PCI also want accreditation for its president Deepa Malik and Singh. Mehta said: “PCI needs to understand our problem. They need to give us one name because we can send only one.”
Singh said he told IOA officials that PCI is the national Paralympic committee and should not be treated like a federation.