The kit related issue with the Indian Paralympic contingent has been “resolved” after necessary corrections and the para-athletes are set to participiate in the opening ceremony of the Rio Paralympics, the ministry claimed today.
The Indian flag on the official blazers of the athletes had no white strip in the middle and country’s name was also not printed on the back.
The International Paralympic Committee objected to it and rejected the kit, jeopardising Indian athletes’ participation in the ceremony.
“The Chef-de-Mission of the Indian contingent in Rio has informed that inspection of uniforms/kits of the participating countries is a routine affair in such mega events. This was done in the case of Paralympics, 2016 as well. After the inspection, IPC made some suggestions to India as well as many other countries. The issues raised in respect of the ceremonial kit of the Indian Contingent have since been resolved,” a Ministry release said.
“Necessary corrections have been made which have been duly approved by IPC. The Chef-de-Mission has reported that the Indian contingent is ready to participate in the opening ceremony to be held later today with full enthusiasm,” the release added.
India have sent their largest ever contingent for the Rio Paralympics as a total of 19 athletes will vie for honours.
Caught in political and economic crises, Rio 2016 organisers have skimped as far as they can on food, transport and accommodation.
Part of Rio’s problem is that it is following London 2012, hailed as the best Paralympics ever in terms of public support and sporting performance.
To keep the Rio Games on track, city authorities had to promise 150 million reais ($46 million, 41 million euros) in August while the government got state companies to inject another 100 million reais in sponsorship.
As the Games finally get underway, the 41 career gold medals won by blind American swimmer Trischa Zorn between 1980 and 2004 looks unbeatable, but the Paralympics will inevitably produce new tales of courage.
The 28-year-old Rahman, disabled since birth, is aiming to become the first Paralympian to bench press 300kg. His rivals in the powerlifting over 107kg category have already conceded the gold medal to the Iranian.
China will have a record 308 athletes in Rio looking to beat their 95 gold medals from London when they topped the table for the third straight Paralympics.
They have swimmer Xu Qing competing in his fourth and possibly last Games, seeking to add to his seven gold medals.
Meanwhile Britain’s Weir is in Rio to add to his six gold medals. The 37-year-old, born with a spinal deformity that has kept him confined to a wheelchair since birth, is entered in five events.
“It will be my last Paralympics and I just want to medal,” he said. “If I come away with a medal, I’ll be happy. My coach is telling me that I’m quicker and faster than I’ve ever been, so that gives me a lot of confidence.”
And IPC president Philip Craven said that despite the cuts, the show will go on — something that looked in doubt when the funding crisis came to light last month.
“The Games will happen, but they may not be — I wouldn’t say tip-top, but maybe not as relatively luxurious as in the past,” he said.
“Paralympians are resilient people, (as are) the staff teams that back them up, and our Paralympic family will pull together,” added Craven.