New Delhi: The stature of Paralympic sports in India has come a long way over the past few years. From anonymity and abject neglect by the government, public and the media, to being feted as stars after consistent performances at major international events, the change is indeed striking.
However, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) feels that more needs to be done if India is to reach its full potential in para sports.
Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President Dr. Deepa Malik has appealed for more sponsorships, scholarships, and funding programmes to further strengthen the Paralympic Movement in the country and produce more champions.
Acknowledging SBI’s support in the country’s Paralympic Movement, PCI President Deepa Malik said there’s need for more support as the country has a high percentage of para-athletes.
“We are very thankful to the SBI Foundation for supporting our 30 Para athletes. But there are more than 30,000 Para athletes in the country, so we would need more support from various sectors including our stakeholders.
“On behalf of PCI, I appeal to various public ad sectors for more support to the Para athletes with sponsorships, scholarships and funding programmes which would help in their Paralympic journey.”
Meanwhile PCI Secretary General Gursharan Singh spoke about the journey of the Paralympic Movement and how the Movement has grown over the years, in the country.
He also seconded Dr. Malik’s views that Parasport needs more support from sponsors.
“The Para Movement has come a long way & discussions on such common platforms will be instrumental in strengthening India’s success in future through various stakeholders,” added Dr. Malik, the Rio 2016 Paralympic medallist.
Dr. Malik and Singh were speaking at a function in New Delhi – The Paralympic Story, an event held to bring all the stakeholders of the Paralympic Movement on a common platform.
The objective of the function was to discuss and deliberate on how the ecosystem of Para sports can be strengthened in India through co-operation between the various stakeholders.
SBI Foundation extends support to 30 para athletes
One of the key partners of the PCI to support Parasport in the country, the State Bank of India Foundation has been supporting 30 Para athletes from various disciplines including Para archery, Para athletics, Para badminton, boccia, powerlifting, shooting, and swimming with their training and coaching etc.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist in shooting Manish Narwal; star archers Jyoti Baliyan, Rakesh Kumar and Shyam Sundar; Para shuttler Palak Kohli; athletes Navdeep, Simran and Ajeet Kumar Yadav are among the top names supported by the SBI Foundation.
“We are very proud of the 30 Para athletes who won around 100 medals altogether in the last year. We have supported them for the past one year with their training, coaching and various other needs. And we are happy to extend our support to them for another year,” said Shri Sanjay Prakash, MD of SBI Foundation who was the Chief Guest at the event.
Meanwhile, Aman Bhaiya, Assistant Vice President of SBI Foundation, praised the Para athletes on their excellent performances in international events and hoped that the Para athletes will bring more laurels to the nation in the coming time.
“We are supporting the Para sports movement in India to enable the Para athletes to bring gold medals at national and international competitions and hoist the Indian tricolour at every podium.
“We are confident that our para athletes will create history in the coming Asian para games by hitting a century of medals,” said Bhaiya.
Among others present at the event were – PCI Governing and Advisory members including two-time Paralympic gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia, Ashok Bedi, Brigadier Dinesh Sharma, Incharge Mission Olympic Cell- India Army; Representatives from International Committee of Red Cross, Svayam and OCG.