Para Asian Games 2023 bound athlete alleges non-cooperation from Paralympic Committee of India

M SudharshanM Sudharshan
October 16 2023
Para Asian Games 2023 bound athlete allege non-cooperation from Paralympic Committee of India
(Courtesy : Hindustan Scoop)

India is sending its largest contingent to the event.

Just days ahead of the Para Asian Games 2023, an Indian athlete has accused the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) of non-cooperation. After successfully completing the Asian Games 2023, Hangzhou is getting ready to host Para Asian Games 2023. The fourth edition of the quadrennial extravaganza is scheduled to be held from October 22 to 28. A total of 4,000 athletes are set to participate across 22 sports in 24 disciplines with India sending its largest contingent ever.

A total of 309 para-athletes, including 196 men and 113 women, will represent India in the Para Asian Games 2023. However, ahead of the planned departure, a source close to the contingent has informed Khel Now that “athletes using wheelchairs have allegedly not been given their preferred choice of escorts but rather were provided with people close to the PCI as their escorts.”

There are few athletes who use wheelchairs and need assistance for day-to-day work. Ahead of the Asian Para Games 2023, the athletes picked their escorts who were supposed to help them through the course of the competition. However, allegedly the PCI has rejected the athletes’ preferences for escorts and has instead replaced them with people who are close to the PCI coaches or the committee members.

The source alleged, “There are few athletes who need assistance for their day-to-day work. Ahead of each competition, the athletes provide the PCI with their preferred choices for escorts, who will help them for the entirety of their run in that particular competition. However, in this instance, the PCI has allegedly removed the preferred escort chosen by the athlete and assigned a person close to the authority as an escort,” said the source.

“The same occurred during the World Championships last year in Japan where a random escort was assigned to an athlete. However, to the athlete’s dismay the assigned escort had disappeared from the venue on arrival itself. He was absent throughout the tenure of the competition and only later returned back prior to the departure.

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“With no option left, we took care of fellow athletes and somehow managed throughout the competition. All the funding for the escorts is borne by the government, so PCI makes use of these funds and sends people close to them who do not help the athletes at all”, alleged the source.

Few players who use wheelchairs cannot perform day-to-day activities by themselves and they indeed require help. Sending unknown escorts might not go well with the players as they would not have the same level of trust and knowledge. This might affect players’ mental strength and in return hamper his/her performance in the competition.

Four players using wheelchairs are set to take part in the Asian Para Games 2023 out of which one athlete requires mandatory support. The players are scheduled to depart from India to Hangzhou on 16th October via Hong Kong. At the upcoming edition, the Indian contingent is scheduled to participate in 17 disciplines. In the previous edition held in Jakarta, 188 para athletes participated, and this time there has been a significant jump to the participants list.

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