Indian viewers will finally be able to watch the ongoing Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
It will, however, not be live as Sony will show Paralympics highlights through its two sports channels — SIX and ESPN — in two sessions of one hour each daily.
“It will be completely non-live and coverage will comprise of daily one hour highlights. There will be two separate highlight episodes – Day session and Night session highlights scheduled on different times on SIX and SONY ESPN respectively,” said a release.
India have sent their biggest ever contingent of 19 including Athens gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia but no broadcaster, including the national network Doordarshan, showed any interest to buy rights of the Paralympics.
A Kolkata-based NGO and disability rights activist Suchandra Ganguly took up the issue along with official chaplain of Rio Olympics and Paralympics Zenji Nio in two media conferences earlier this week.
“Paralympics have never been telecast. But this year was a very crucial year. The cost of rights didn’t rise nearly as much from London to Rio as it did from Beijing to London so even modest revenue growth should drive margins. Also, there are benefits of Rio time zone.
“So we don’t understand why it cannot be broadcast. We saw a tweet from the Prime Minister wishing luck the para athletes participating in the Games. But how can we cheer for them till we can see them,” Suchandra said.
Indian-origin Nio who will be at the Games Village said he’s ready to provide coverage.
“This is nothing but discrimination. We are not here to find castigate anyone but to have a course correction before Tokyo 2020. I will spoonfeed you with all details. They deserve to be supported and not sympathised.”