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news Friday, April 17, 2015 - 05:30
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC)’s indefinite suspension of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) has raised fears among the athletes of a cancellation of the impending first Indian Open Para Games. The international body has suspended the Indian committee over "unresolved conflicts (which) are still undermining the development of the Paralympic movement in India". This development is the latest in a series of troubles that have been plaguing the PCI, including the poor arrangements at the Ghaziabad games held in March that caused much trouble to participating athletes, following media reports. There has been much infighting within the PCI which The News minute has reported on and which ultimately culminated in the suspension of the President of the body, Rajesh Tomar earlier this month. In an email to Tomar on Friday the IPC have said that “the situation in the PCI has been chaotic for several years now which is mostly due to individual conflicts at the national level between different groups and persons”. Athletes disappointed The PCI were scheduled to host the first Indian Open Para Games in May and although no official statement has been made, athletes claim that the event stands cancelled as the body has been suspended. Saheb Hossain, an athlete who had also participated in the Ghaziabad games, says the cancellation of the Delhi event will affect the athletes adversely, who are now left with almost nothing to look forward to especially as the PCI has been suspended. “I came to know of the cancellation (of the Delhi even) on Thursday”, says Hossain, when contacted. Saddened by the recent chain of events, Hossain says “We as athletes were looking forward to it.” The PCI suspension also means that Hossain’s hopes of qualifying for an international event have been dashed, as he had qualified for the Delhi games as he won multiple gold medals in his category at the Ghaziabad games. His prospects of participating at an international event are slim as the PCI has been suspended, thereby nullifying the chances of government sponsorship. Participating at an international even without government support, can cost close to Rs 1.5 lakh, he says. For 23-year-old Sharad Kumar, the dream of representing the country at an international platform has now been thwarted twice. He lost out the first time, as he tested positive for steroids, which he has denied using. “Playing for the national flag is one thing, and playing for the IPC at an event is totally another”, says Kumar, who bagged a gold medal winner at the Incheon Asian Paralympics Games last October. Following his medal win, he was in line to represent India at the World Championships to be held in Qatar later this year. When asked for a response to the recent developments, Kumar says he’s too “shocked” to say anything. The athletes hope that the PCI gets its affairs in order so that their participation would not be impeded in any manner. “I feel that the body should work together for the athletes,” says Kumar. The current state of affairs has also posed a personal problem for Kumar, who is pursuing his post-graduation from JNU in Delhi. “I don’t know if I should continue with the sport or pursue my studies. Even after my gold medal, I haven’t got a job yet,” he says, referring to athletes being given government jobs after their success.
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