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After winning five medals at Deaflympics, Indian athletes refuse to leave airport and stage protest

The incident has occurred at New Delhi airport.

News 01 Aug 2017, 11:09 IST

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The Indian contingent at the airport

What's the story?

India's contingent of hearing impaired athletes put on a protest like never before as the team that represented the country in the recently concluded Deaflympics refused to leave the airport in New Delhi.

The team recorded its best ever tally at the event in Turkey, winning 5 medals for the country and bringing utmost pride to its people, or so they thought. The contingent of 46 overall athletes and support personnel are reportedly very unhappy over the turn of events at the airport and blame the Sports Ministry for their gross ignorance of the team. They have even threatened to return their medals and refuse to budge from their stand.

Interpreter and Project Officer Ketan Shah told Sportskeeda, "It's extremely disappointing to see the turnout for the event. Our athletes were celebrated there and we personally emailed the Sports Minister Vijay Goel and DG SAI on July 25 to tell them that we are coming. However, no one replied!"

"We presumed that they will turn up, but upon landing, we realised it was a completely different story. It's quite disappointing as this is our best ever finish including a gold medal. Tell me one thing? We celebrated our Paralympians and Olympians, but why can't we do the same for these guys, they are at the same level. No one is here to greet us either, we are extremely disappointed and that's an understatement."

In case you didn't know...

India's contingent at the Deaflympics performed admirably, winning five medals, which is their best ever show. The tally also included one gold medal but little or no coverage was given to these aspiring and talented bunch of athletes.

The heart of the matter

The message of Ketan Shah is very clear. The athletes were expecting a grand welcome on their arrival back in their home and the disappointment faced by the athletes is unlike anything they have faced before.

This is quite similar to the apathy faced by other para-athletes who even had to beg and borrow to get by in foreign countries. It marks a huge blow for the Ministry yet again.

What's next?

Sports Minister Vijay Goel is yet to release an official statement on the matter but for the sake of the athletes, it is expected that some action will be taken soon.

Author's take

The deplorable condition of India's athletes is there for all to see and yet again highlights just how far we still need to go to achieve overall greatness.

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