Following letter recieved on Tuesday from the International Paralympic Committee to the India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, the Governmnent of India has sent a reply asking what it would take to allow Indian athletes to compete under their own flag. They cited the inability to compete as Indians as very demotivating for athletes.
The letter said in part, “The letter sent today to Gonzalez has deeply appreciated IPC’s support for para-athletes and para-sports in India. It said that para-sports in India is at a nascent stage and needs to be encouraged in every possible manner.” It went on to say, “Govt. Of India has been providing all possible support to para-athletes and para-sports and if any restriction is imposed on participation of Indian athletes and if they are not allowed to compete under the National Flag of India, they will feel demotivated and this will be a huge setback to the efforts being made by the Government for promotion of para- sports in the country.”
The Ministry has also announced that they will be sending another letter to the IPC soon with their suggestions about the creation of an adhoc committee that might be used to allow Indian athletes to compete under their own flag. They have also said that until the matter between the PCI and IPC is resolved, all para-sport in India would be routed through Sports Authority of India.
Despite the current issues, Indian para-sport that is not run directly by or through the Paralympic Committe of India carries on through other national para-sport sport or disability type organizations. 15 Indian athletes just finished competing at the IBSA World Games in Seoul, South Korea in a number of sports including athletics, swimming and powerlifting where they won a pair of bronze medals in powerlifting.
Yesterday, Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), which is affiliated with the PCI, saw the departure of the men’s national team to England for a friendly test matches that will take palce between May 24 and 31. The team will then stay in England where they will play Bahrain between June 1 and 4. The team has been in training since May 14 in Valsad, Gujarat. The national team activity comes ahead of India hosting the T20 World Cup next year.
CABI General Secretary Mahantesh G. Kivadasannavar said, “The proposed tour is very important as the champions are playing first international tournament after the World Cup victory. This will be a good preparation for the forthcoming 2nd T20 World Cup for the blind in 2016.”
Team skipper Shekar Naik was quoted as saying, “The team is well prepared and is in good form. Recent experiences of playing zonal tournaments and earlier World Cup win make me confident of a win in the bi-lateral series too. We have a good coach who has been working hard with us and the boys are very determined.”
Despite IPC letter and Indian athletes currently being able to compete internationally in para-sport some form, the current internal situation in the PCI does not look like it is headed towards a resolution any time soon. An Annual General Meeting in Bangalore in Bangalore on May 17, where previously suspended PCI President Rajesh Tomar was removed again through a No Confidence Motion. At the same time, another group claiming to be the PCI held an Annual General Meeting on May 15. This group is headed by BJP Member of Parliament Rao Inderjit Singh. There is a third group out there also claiming to be the PCI. At the same time, the litigation issues brought before Indian courts do not appear to have been resolved.