Devoid of any television coverage, Para Sports Foundation (PSF) general secretary Pradeep Raj has demanded that the 2016 Paralympics, which begins in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, should be broadcast in India.
Raj, himself a former para athlete, launched a scathing attack on officials traveling for the Paralympics in Rio, saying most of them treat such events as vacation.
“Most officials, who couldn’t go for the Rio Olympics have been sent this time to Rio. These are powerful people and they force the athletes to take them as coaches,” Raj said while addressing a press conference here.
“These officials obviously know nothing about sports or Para sports. They go there on taxpayers’ money just for vacation. On most occasions, these officials don’t even visit the stadium, leave aside helping the athletes in their performance,” he added. Raj said despite repeated requests, they failed to yield any response from the authorities regarding the telecast of the event.
“This is huge discrimination on the part of the government for the para athletes. We are also citizens of the same country and when there was no problem in telecasting the Rio Olympics, where is the hurdle now?” he asked. Raj said that they will be forced to take legal recourse if their demand was not fulfilled.
Earlier, the Sports Ministry had announced that the kit-related issues which seemed to jeapordise the Indian contingent in the opening ceremony of the paralympics. 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.