Kolkata: While we sports lovers are focused on the ongoing India-Australia Test series, the Indian para-athletes did the country proud by winning 13 medals including 5 gold medals in the season opening Fazaa International IPC International Athletics Grand Pix at the Dubai Club Stadium.
Sundar Singh Gurjar won three gold medals in shot put, javelin and discus. The women athletes were not behind. Karamjyoti Dalal and Shatabdti Awasthi won the gold and silver medals respectively in the women’s wheelchair shot put event. Also high jumpers Sharad Kumar and Girisha H Nagarajgowda bagged the gold and silver medals respectively in their category.
In the wake of the laurels brought by our para-athletes in the Paralympics last year and IPC Meet, isn’t it time that these treasures get their due? Only a few days back, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) revised the contracts of Indian cricketers. The cricketers got a whooping hike. Even the rookies were offered huge sums of money in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Not only Indian players, but foreign and marquee players are offered crores.
We do not intend to hurt cricket fans. But many would agree to the fact that a certain balance is required. You simply cannot offer all you have to players of one sport and deprive the others. Yes, there is no doubt cricket is the most popular sport in India and the cricketers have won us several accolades and trophies. But when even brands are ready to spend a bomb on players like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, why can’t the BCCI divert some of its spendings to the welfare and betterment of our para-athletes? These athletes need help and for sure we cannot afford to turn our backs on them. The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) which got recognition only last year from the Union Sports Ministry must introspect and ensure that the athletes are not deprived of their due. We must preserve the ones who bring laurels to our country.