Patiala-based deaf girl Parul Gupta, won two medals at the 2nd International Youth Tennis Tournament for deaf held in Hamburg, Germany. The 17-year old won a silver medal in the doubles category partnering fellow Indian Shaik Jafreen. She also went on to clinch the gold medal in the singles category of the same tournament.
Parul will also represent India in the World Deaf Tennis Championship to be held in Chattanooga, United States from July 14 to 19. Parul has not received any kind of aid from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), in spite of proving her mettle consistently.
Parul has been representing India in various International level tournaments for quite some years, yet SAI has not even bothered to fund her International trips till now. SAI, an independent body set-up by Indian Government in 1984 to promote sports, does not provide any incentives to disabled athletes.
Parul’s father Avinash Gupta has had to struggle to get the required funds to facilitate his daughter’s International trips till now. “Tennis is a costly sport where even basic equipment like racquets, balls and shoes weigh heavy on pocket. Throughout her (Parul's) career my wife and me have bore Parul's expenses at every international tournament. We have tried our best to help Parul continue with her passion,” Parul’s father said.
Besides, Parul nearly missed her opportunity to represent India at the Deaflympics last year, as she was dropped by SAI due to lack of funds. However, she challenged the SAI’s decision in Delhi High Court and got a decision in her favour.
A girl who is fighting to pursue her passion not getting any support from the Government is a fact hard to digest. As a last resort, Parul’s father is hoping the Punjab Government could come to their rescue. “I hope the Punjab government takes into view her achievements and helps Parul out,” he concludes.