Para-Athlete from India, Forced to Beg for Funds in Berlin

Kanchanmala Pande, Para-Athlete hailing from Nagpur, participated in the Para-Swimming Championship recently held at Berlin where she was forced to beg and borrow after she failed to receive the money sanctioned by the Indian Government.

Since the sanctioned money did not reach them, Kanchanmala along with 5 others had to undergo a horrifying experience at the German capital.

Visually impaired Kanchanmala who is an assistant with the Reserve Bank of India, was competing in the S11 category, had to face this distress owing to her alleged cross swords with the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).

Kanchanmala said, "I was not given any official confirmation of whether I will receive a reimbursement for the expense I bore. I had to pay around Rs.70,000 for the hotel and more than Rs.40,000 for food. There was a time when I had no money left. I was simply devastated. Moreover, they put my name in 50m Backstroke when it was never my event. I had to write letters to the International Paralympic Committee when a coach was appointed to take care of the swimmers."

Kanchanmala was the only female swimmer from India to qualify for the World Para-Swimming Championships, held this year.

As the PCI failed to provide money Kanchanmala had to take a loan of 5 lakh to sponsor herself for the tournament and eventually running out of money she had to borrow money from people in an unknown city. The athletes had to arrange money to pay for their own visa.

To make things even worse Kanchanmala found out that the PCI had registered her for 50m Backstroke event when she had actually applied for 100m event. It also happened that Kanwaljeet Singh, the appointed coach by PCI often went missing during the main events and even asked her for 90 Pounds (Rs 7,462) as participation fee.

PCI has now stated that the swimmers will be refunded their money.

Inspite of all of these issues Kanchanmala and Suyash Jadhav won Silver Medals and qualified for the World Championship.

It’s high time that the Government takes strict measures against such inconsistency which is a major setback for the Indian Athletics.

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