Asian No. 2 para-powerlifter ignored for Commonwealth Games 2018
She has already won a medal in CWG games and Asian Open Championships
What's the story?
Sakina Khatun, the 25-year-old powerlifter from Bengaluru is ranked No. 2 in Asian and CWG powerlifter rankings. However, this has not been enough to convince the Paralympic Committee of India to send her along with India's Commonwealth Games contingent to Australia.
In case you didn't know...
Sakina is the only woman para-athlete in India's history to win a medal at the CWG. This happened at Glasgow in 2014 when she won a bronze in the lightweight category. The omission is even more shocking as she clearly met all the eligibility criteria for the 2018 edition of CWG. She came into the limelight again in 2014 when Indian Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar personally inquired about her while felicitating the medalists of CWG 2014.
The heart of the matter
On further investigation and inquiry it has been found out that Sakina Khatun's official entry was never sent to the Commonwealth Games organizers. It is interesting to notice that this happened despite India having three slots per gender available in the para powerlifting events. India will be represented by only five para-athletes. This includes two women table tennis players and three male powerlifters (two in lightweight category and one in heavyweight category). The exclusion of Sakina raised eyebrows further as she has won the Silver medal in Asian Open Championships in 2015 as well.
PCI (Paralympic Committee of India) and IPC (International Paralympic Committee) are playing the blame game here claiming that they had no role to play in the exclusion. The final names have been sent and there does not seem to be any ray of hope for Sakina to continue her medal winning streak.
Paralympic athletes are already the least favored ones in the country and incidents like these further aggravate the ignorance towards sports by Indian authorities. The best attempt should be made to send Sakina to take part in the CWG 2018.