Disabled athletes protest discrimination, mismanagementAugust 10th, 2010 - 6:30 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) Braving the heavy rain, hundreds of disabled athletes Tuesday protested outside Sports Minister M.S. Gill’s residence here, condemning the rampant mismanagement in disability sports in India.
Activists for disabled rights announced an indefinite strike against the step-motherly treatment meted out to the disabled athletes and demanded better facilities by the sport ministry.
“The disabled here are treated badly. There are 15 disability sports events in the Commonwealth Games but India will not be able to participate in any of them as they lack basic necessities,” said Javed Abidi, convenor of the Disabled Rights Group, who was heading the protest.
For the past two months Disabled Rights Group has been pleading with Gill to provide basic amenities like equipment, space and a proper coach for the athletes.
“We have been sidelined,” Abidi said.
Apart from this, the activists are also demanding a detailed account of expenditure of the Rs.13 crore that was earmarked for sports for the disabled for the Commonwealth Games.
“Where has all the money gone? Why isn’t proper coaching provided to our elite disabled athletes like Prashant Karmakar in swimming and Farman Basha in power lifting who really are our only medal hopes in the upcoming Commonwealth games,” he asked.
Joginder Singh, a national level disabled competitor in power lifting, said: “There is rampant corruption and mismanagement in disability sports in India. Each player was supposed to get a daily allowance of Rs.500 for the 11 days in the camp. Not just the money, we are not provided sports kits like racing wheelchairs, swimsuits for swimmers and table tennis bats.”
Vikram Kain, another power lifter, said: “Not only in the Commonwealth Games, generally, the disabled sportspersons are sidelined. The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) does nothing but eat up all the funds meant for us.”
Drenched in rain and threatened with baton charge by 50 police personnel, the differently-abled athletes said they were determined not to disperse until their demands are met.
“If the minister or his men call the police to remove us, we will not move. If the police want us to go, the only way that can happen is if the concerned officials fulfill our demands or they should use force,” Abidi said.
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Tags: basha, commonwealth games, convenor, crore, daily allowance, disability sports, heavy rain, indefinite strike, joginder, joginder singh, karmakar, paralympic committee, power lifter, power lifting, protest discrimination, rampant corruption, rampant mismanagement, rs 500, sports in india, table tennis bats