New Delhi: Former world no.1 para shuttler Anand Kumar has made a strong appeal to the authorities saying it was high time differently able sportspersons are treated at par with other athletes.
Anand's reaction comes in the wake of reports revealing shocking treatment meted out to participants of recently concluded National Para-Athletics Championship in Ghaziabad.
"Para sports need to be treated equally alongside normal sports. We deserve the same facilities that other athletes are getting. We need to be treated as normal players. We are not asking for the moon, we are just demanding basic facilities which has to be provided," Kumar, who has been representing India for many years, told PTI today on the sidelines of a badminton tournament backed by PNB MetLife.
Anand said he was appalled to know that athletes were treated badly at a national competition.
Something as basic as proper food and drinking water was not provided to a chunk of athletes.
"I am told two wheelchair athletes were staying on second floor. How are they going to move around with no proper ramps? Proper transportation is a must for us. Normal athletes can run, walk but we can't do that. It is very sad to know that para players were ill treated," said the world no.14 in SL 4 category.
Bangalore-based shuttler is an established player now but he can't forget the tough time he endured in his formative years.
"Many times I have also slept in schools' dormitories, classrooms and all but this one is really extreme. The funds have been released for the players but don't know where they are going," Anand asked.
However, Devendra Jhajaria, one of India's best known para athlete, defended organisers of the National Championship.
"I am not saying that everything was fine in the Championship but we should also see the reasons behind it. It is expected that normally about 20 athletes come from any particular state and the organisers had made arrangements for about 700 athletes but about 1200 turned up for the tournament. To be fair to the organizers, instead of refusing entry to the uninvited athletes, they tried to accommodate them and this created trouble," said Jhajaria.