Parul Gupta, a deaf tennis player from Punjab, is struggling to participate in two major tournaments as financial support from the state’s governing bodies has not been forthcoming.
The second international Deaf Youth Tennis Cup is due to be held at Hamburg, Germany, this month and Dresse and Maere World Deaf Tennis Championship will begin in the US from July 14 to 19. These are the two tournaments that Parul is looking to participate in.
The 17-year-old is the first ever deaf player from Punjab to represent India at major international tournaments, but has not been backed by any sports body or the Punjab Government for that matter.
Parul’s father, Avinash Gupta, has stated that due to the lack of interest towards disabled athletes and no financial backing from the sports bodies, the family had to bear an expense of 5 to 7 lakhs for her to enroll in the two competitions.
Parul’s father said,”The Sports Authority of India (SAI) extends financial help to players through respective sports federations. However, All India Sports Council for Deaf, which is responsible to promote sports among deaf children, hasn’t given any financial help to the player as some court case involving the federation is pending.”
“We demand that if sports bodies fail to provide any help, Punjab government should help the player so that she can participate in the tournaments,” he added.
Parul, who is a class 11 student, was also denied monetary assistance earlier when she took part in the Deaf Olympics at Bulgaria. She was granted a sum of 2 lakh rupees only after the event garnered substantial media coverage.