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Paralympic athlete alleges lack of escorts, officials deny

September 02, 2012 19:05 IST

Controversy broke out in the Indian Paralympic team in London with an athlete alleging lack of escorts to look after them even as the officials sought to make light of it.

Powerlifter Farman Basha said that he was not provided with an escort and that has affected his performance in the London Paralympic Games.

"I do not have an escort here and even my coach was not allowed to stay with me. I have been in London since August 11 and our federation representatives promised that all arrangements will be made but nothing has been taken care of," said Basha, who is competing in the men's 48kg PO classification powerlifting event.

arman Basha of India"My escort was supposed to take me to the dining area, which is half a kilometer away but he was not available. Only one escort is here for all of us. It is very difficult for us to move around in wheelchairs.

"I was confident of a medal but now all my training has gone in vain," he added.

A Paralympic Committee of India official, however, said that there were enough escorts and that the problem arose as there was no provision of one escort per athlete.

"We cannot have an escort for every athlete. We have 10 athletes and only six people have been sanctioned to stay inside the Games Village. We are managing things with some people coming early at the Village and leaving late in the evening," the official said.

"The few people available will have to manage and escort the 10 athletes. We are doing that and managing things."

Amit Kumar, who is competing in men's discus throw F51/52/53 category, said that the officials have been doing their best under the circumstances.

"I don't know about the athletes of other countries if they also face these kind of issues. But our officials are doing their best under the circumstances. Each of us cannot get a coach and an escort," Kumar said.

India is yet to open an account in the Paralympic Games, which began on August 29.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Ajay Maken said that he has already contacted the Indian High Commission officials as well as the Director General of Sports Authority of India to urgently look into the matter.

"Just got in touch with Indian High Commission Officials & DG SAI. Asked them to get in touch with concerned ppl immediately," twitted Maken.

Maken's response came after a news channel's raised question on whether the minister would act with same alacrity he did during Olympics, or do specially abled not matter.

Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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