Para-athletes rue step-motherly treatment by Odisha government

Bhubaneswar: Despite their stunning performances in the recently-concluded Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Para-athletes from Odisha are a crestfallen lot after finding that despite bringing laurels for their country, their achievements have vastly gone unnoticed in their home State.

Para-athletes from Odisha won a gold medal, three silver and two bronze medals in the Asian Para Games.

“Injustice has been done because like other athletes, we had represented the country and won medals,” said Para-athlete Jayanti Behera.

Another Para-athlete Pramod Bhagat, who won one gold and one bronze in singles and doubles Badminton events respectively, also echoed similar views.

“What was done for sprinter Duttee Chand, no such assistance has been announced for us. We want to ask the government why we are being treated differently,” said Bhagat.

Para Athletes Forum on the other hand claimed that there should be no partiality in treating players who certainly need government support.

“It is unfortunate that the government announced cash reward and other sops within no time for other athletes. But so far nothing has been announced for Para-athletes who should also be treated at par with normal players,” said Rakhel Sethy, secretary of Para Athletes Forum.

Sports journalist Sambit Mohapatra stated that at a time when the Centre has honoured Para-athletes with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, why Odisha government is falling behind to encourage the divyang players?