Indian para-athlete Kanchanmala Pande, who is completely blind was forced to beg in Berlin to take part in the Para-Swimming Championships. Pande who hails from Nagpur swims in the S11 category had to go through extreme misery to take part in the championship on behalf of the country after the money sactioned to them by the government failed to reach them. Due to this alleged slip up by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), Pande was forced to beg and borrow money from people in Berlin. According to a report by Daily Mail, Kanchanmala Pande in her statement said that she and five others participating in the Para-Swimming Championships in the German capital from July 3-9 had a harrowing time as the government money sanctioned for their tour did not reach them.
She said, “I never thought I would face such problems. I had to take a loan of Rs 5 lakh so that I could participate in the tournament….I had to qualify for the World Championships and I don’t know why PCI didn’t understand its importance.” Further while talking about her misery she added, “I was not given any official confirmation if I will receive a reimbursement for the expense I bore. I had to pay around Rs 70,000 (£844) for the hotel and more than Rs 40,000 (£482) for food.”
The silver lining to the entire ordeal was, that by beating all odds, Kanchanmala Pande won a silver medal and qualified for the World Championship. She also became the only female swimmer to qualify for the World Para-Swimming Championships this year.
Former Indian shooter athlete, after reading about the incident expressed his anger through a Twitter post. He wrote, “This is UNACCEPTABLE. People must be held accountable. @VijayGoelBJP @narendramodi….A sports legislation which mandates all federations to professionalize is the only way ahead for Indian sport. The draft 1/2….Prepared by @DGSAI committee is a good one- I hope it comes to force asap.” MoS Youth Affairs and Sports, Vijay Goel reacted to his post and said, “I’m informed funds were released to Paralympic Committee by SAI on behalf of @YASMinistry. Trying to ascertain from PCI where the problem lies.”