|Correction (April 23): The article states Comite Paralimpico de Costa Rica was suspended on April 15. This is incorrect. According to an IPC communication, they were suspended by the IPC on March 4, 2015.|
Following last Thursday’s demand by India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports that the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) respond within a day to explain their actions or face suspension, the PCI had failed to do so as of last night. Indian media are reporting that the PCI have delayed as they seek to consult Indian athletes in an attempt to address the issues.
PCI Executive Officer Satyanarayana told India’s NDTV, “We will be meeting our athletes who are training in Delhi’s Nehru Stadium, and ask them what should be our response to the Sports Ministry. […] The IPC has said there is infighting, but that is not true. 99.5% of the members are together. We are all concerned about the pride of our country and our athletes”.
2011 IPC Athletics World Championship silver medalist and 2014 Asian Para Games silver medalist Deepa Malik was quoted by NDTV, “In between their own fights and bickering, we are the ones who suffer. Why don’t they make an Athletes Commission and make some of us the part of it so that we can offer them some practical solutions?”
Last Wednesday, the PCI was suspended by the International Paralympic Committee for the third time in four years. This situation appears different than past suspensions that were soon lifted as it comes on the heals of a scandal involving poor athlete treatment at a PCI organized athletics competition where participants had to sleep on the floor, had poor access to toilets, and did not have access to drinkable water.
The Indian government has stripped the PCI of its recognition before, including in 2011 which was followed by an IPC suspension. In the lead up to 2012, the Indian government asked the Indian Olympic Committee to step in and temporarily serve as the Paralympic sport’s governing body to make it possible for Indian athletes to qualify for the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
India’s National Paralympic Committee has joined a list of other suspended NPCs including Comite Paralimpico de Costa Rica, Somali Paralympic Committee, National Paralympic Committee of Mauritania, Kenya National Paralympic Committee, Fédération des Sports des Handicapés, National Paralympic Committee of Bangladesh, and Albanian National Paralympic Committee.