Yesterday, the Government of Haryana promised to give the same cash reward for state’s Paralympians and Olympians. Paralympic and Olympic gold medalists will get Rs 6 crore, silver medalists will get Rs 4 crore and bronze medalists will get Rs 2.5 crore.
In making the announcement, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar promised that Paralympians would be given the same access to facilities that Olympic athletes get and that the Paralympic Committee of Haryana would be given office space in Faridabad. He also reiterated a promise of a new 10 lane track in Gurgaon, which would benefit track and field competitors in the surrounding area including Faridabad. As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Accessible India Campaign’ plan, the government has also announced plans to open schools for the deaf in the state, seek to employ more elite athletes with disabilities and work on a socio-economic development plan for people with physical disabilities.
Haryana’s actions take place against a backdrop that has seen Indian track and field competitors excel at recent competitions in the Middle East, even as the internal sports politics remained mired; the Paralympic Committee of India continues to be suspended by the IPC with no clear pathway to get unsuspended. Last November, Indian deaf athletes were denied access to an SAI youth hostel while awaiting visas to represent India internationally.