Interim President of Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) Nale Nandkishor is quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying earlier today, “We expected the sports ministry to take such an action after our international body IPC suspended us. At our AGM on 17th of next month, we will decide who is going to be the next president and how the international suspension can be lifted so that our athletes can compete in international tournaments.” He also told them, “We will request the IPC to let our athletes compete until the suspension is revoked.”
This timeline of May 17 would put any potential appear outside the 21 day window specified by the IPC handbook for appealing suspensions. It is a bit unclear if these processes apply to the PCI as the handbook lists them for breaches in ethics, not for issues related to internal disputes. It is unclear if Nandkishor is holding the only PCI AGM as sources have told ParaSport News that three are actually on the schedule, being led by different factions who all claim legitimacy. This lack of clarity and extended timeline would not work easy resolution in favor of Indian athletes seeking to go to Rio.
Nandkishor was originally a vice-president inside the PCI. At a March 28 Executive Committee meeting led by then PCI President Rajesh Tomar, he was one of five people suspended for his handling of the National Para-Athletics Championships in Ghaziabad about a week earlier. Nandkishor was unsuspended during an April 4 Executive Committee meeting that saw Tomar removed amidst accusations of financial misdealing and having ultimate responsibility for the National Para-Athletics Championships. Tomar has taken the PCI to court alleging his removal violated the organization’s constitution.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports sent a letter to the IPC yesterday that has yet to be received asking the IPC to authorize the Sports Authority of India to send Indian competitors to IPC sanctioned events, and to assist in the creation of an ad hoc Indian Paralympic committee.
Meanwhile, in a correspondence from International Paralympic Committee’s Director of Media and Communications Craig Spence to ParaSport News today, he said that options were being explored to allow athletes from Kenya, Costa Rica and India to qualify for and compete in the 2016 Summer Paralympics, saying, “[W]e always look into solutions for them to compete in events. We have already assured Costa Rican athletes that they can compete in August’s Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and are looking into the possibility of how athletes from all three countries can be potentially accommodated for the upcoming IPC World Championships in various sports this summer.”