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Authorities dashed our medal hopes: Paralympians

2 athletes allege PCI withheld funds,didn’t let coaches travel with them.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: October 16, 2012 1:17:29 am

2 athletes allege PCI withheld funds,didn’t let coaches travel with them.

The Delhi High Court issued notices to the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) on a petition filed by two paralympians who competed in the London Paralympic Games 2012. They had alleged that the sports body mistreated them during the event and deprived them of a chance to win medals.

Justice Rajiv Shakhder issued notices to the PCI,the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Sports Authority of India on a petition filed by Naresh Kumar Sharma and Farman Basha,both Arjuna Award winners,who were part of India’s 10-member contingent to London.

The next date of hearing in the case is April 15,2013.

The petition,filed through advocates Juhi Arora and Kapil Gupta,alleged that though the athletes were expected to perform to the best of their abilities in representing the nation,they were made to run from pillar to post,which affected their performance. Further,it said that they were made to carry their own equipment and the PCI allowed officials with no experience to travel with them as coaches.

“ …they were made to feel miserable by forcing them to carry the equipment. The said overt acts of the respondents did not stop there as only to keep the dignitaries happy,they sacrificed the medal probabilities of the country by allowing contingent officials with no experience to represent themselves as coaches of the athletes,” the petition said.

Sharma,a shooter,submitted that the PCI had failed to register him in his preferred categories,forcing him to complete the registration process on his own. Further,he said the PCI then informed him that his coach would not be allowed to travel with him and they had assigned another coach instead.

Basha,who is a weightlifter,said he was sanctioned Rs 50,000 per month for practice facilities,food allowance,etc,but was given only Rs 5,000 per month without any explanation from the PCI. He submitted that he paid the remaining sum from his own pocket.

The petitioners submitted that of the six persons permitted to travel with the contingent as coaches,three were officials with no coaching experience. Despite that,they were given accreditation cards as coaches,the petition said.

“…the respondents have jointly and severally have duped the petitioners and other athletes of their hard work and dedication,who not only have lost the chance of winning a medal for their country but have been discouraged from participating in any future events,” the petition said.

The petitioners asked the court to direct the respondents to formulate guidelines for effective functioning of PCI and asked for action to be taken against erring officials. They also asked for compensation for the expenses incurred by them in preparation for the games.

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