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Sports ministry shocked at apathy towards para-athletes

The sports ministry on Sunday expressed shock and concern at the apathy shown by the 15th National Para-Athletic Championship organisers wherein the participants have been denied proper accommodation at the event.

Living conditions at the National Para-Athletic Championship camp

New Delhi, March 22: The sports ministry on Sunday expressed shock and concern at the apathy shown by the 15th National Para-Athletic Championship organisers wherein the participants have been denied proper accommodation at the event.

The three-day championship is being held at Ghaziabad, near Delhi, since March 20. Over 600 disabled athletes have been provided accommodation in two partially constructed buildings in the campus of a private college.

The buildings, apart from not being disabled-friendly, are unfurnished and don't have functioning toilets and even drinking water.

The despicable living conditions have forced the athletes to sleep on the floor and bathe and defecate in the open, according to media reports.

In a statement, the ministry said it is looking into the matter and, if required, would not hesitate in issuing a comprehensive advisory stipulating minimum standards that need to be maintained in terms of boarding, lodging and other facilities to be made available to athletes so that such incidents do not recur.

The government reiterated that it is committed to inclusive sports development and accords equal priority to both able-bodied and disabled-sport athletes.

It added that it provides liberal assistance to all National Sports Federations (NSFs), including the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), in organising national camps for the selection and preparation of athletes for participation in international events.

The statement said that every NSF is expected to conduct events in a professional manner, maintaining at least the minimum standards expected of an event being held at the national level and the government can only provide financial assistance.

It is the task of the organisers to mobilise support from different sources and conduct the tournament in a proper manner, the statement added.

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