The Indian contingent for the Asian Para Games was denied entry into the village because the accommodation fee had not yet been paid, it was reported.
Top PCI officials, however, claimed that the amount had not yet been sanctioned by the Sports Ministry. The amount, they said was USD 2.5 lakhs. As a response to the athletes not being allowed to enter, the PCI officials present then gave an undertaking that the payment would be completed by October 4 following which the athletes would be allowed to enter?
However, a senior PCI official was also quoted as marking the differences between able-bodied athletes and the para-athlete contingent from India, saying that unlike the former, the para-athletes were required to pay for accommodation, competition, registration, among others.
“Each country will have to pay for accommodation of its athletes at the Games Village, pay competition and registration fee, etc. So, we have to pay around USD 2.5 lakh for the contingent of around 300. We came here without the funds, and we had problems in going into the Games Village,” said Gursharan Singh, the Vice President of the PCI to PTI.
“We had to give an undertaking that we will pay the amount by October 4. If we do not make the payment, we may be told to vacate our accommodation at the Games Village,” Gursharan added.
However, the other side of the story is the Sports Ministry’s reaction to the news. MYAS Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar mentioned to PTI that the required funds had already been transferred to the concerned people. Some 60 athletes along with PCI officials reportedly reached Jakarta on Monday with the rest slated to join later.
“We have transferred the funds (on Monday), and the issue is sorted now. The para-athletes are now inside the Games Village,” Bhatnagar was quoted as saying.
“Every Para-Games, the government pays these funds, but this time, it is a bit late. We left India for Indonesia without the sanction of funds hoping that it will be done while we are on the way. But it is sorted now.” he added.