Ghaziabad: More than 700 differently-abled athletes, participating in the 15th National Para-Athletic Championship have been forced to stay at unfurnished and unhygienic accommodations in Ghaziabad.
Two buildings provided as accommodation for the three-day meet are unfurnished and lack functional toilets and drinking water. The sportspersons participating were shocked when they were provided messy and unkempt rooms. The building lacks basic facilities like water and fans and there were a lot of mosquitoes as well.
"I fell three times while taking bath today, we are drinking water from a tanker and it as not been cleaned and the toilets are filthy," said Vinay, a participating athlete.
"There is no water available for taking a bath and using the washroom. We don't have fans in our rooms and there are a lot of mosquitoes in the room. The electricity supply keeps on fluctuating. We have not complained as of now," added a differently-abled athlete.
Meanwhile, former athlete Sunita Godara expressed her displeasure over the lack of facilities provided to the differently-abled athletes.
"This is a national event and they are treating sports persons like slaves," Godara told the media.
"The situation is very pathetic, the government is not nurturing the athletes," she added.
Godara also said that apart from cricket, all other games are ignored.
The athletes' condition drew sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal's attention after a media outcry.
"Well-being of all athletes is a priority for us. Differently-abled athletes and their well-being is a priority for us. We are examining the matter and looking into the reasons for mismanagement of the event," Sonowal tweeted.
"Detailed report has been asked on the organisation of the National Para-Athletic Games from Paralympic Committee of India," he added.
The championships, comprising of two events - the National Para Powerlifting Championships (March 14 and 15) and National Athletics Championships (March 20 to 22), are being held at the Weightlifting Auditorium in Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium Complex and Janhit Para Sports Grounds (Madhuban, Bapudham) in Ghaziabad respectively.
A defiant Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President Rajesh Tomar said a panel has been formed to file a report on the matter.
"The PCI governs 70 federations and it is the Paralympic Federation of India's job to conduct the National Championships. They are in touch with the local organisers and our job is to oversee it. We have constituted a four-member committee, including an athlete, and they will file a report on this and stern action will be taken if needed," he said.