5 years after Rio bronze, Varun Bhati awaits Rs 1 crore promised by UP government
Para-high jumper Varun Singh Bhati is yet to receive INR. 1 crore he was promised after his Rio de Janeiro bronze, his wife tells to The Bridge.
India's 2016 high jump bronze medal-winning Paralympian, Varun Singh Bhati, has spoken up against the pay disparity between para-athletes and able-bodied athletes.
Bhati's home state, Uttar Pradesh, recently announced a reward of INR. 10 lakh for all the ten athletes from the state who competed at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. This was a pale show of the INR. 25 lakh, which the Olympians from the state received.
Varun Singh Bhati took to his personal Twitter handle to express his displeasure on the disparity.
"Once again discrimination against Paralympians in Uttar Pradesh. While the Olympic participants got INR. 24 lakh, the participants of Paralympics are given only INR. 10 lakh. Please help spread this message to a wider audience," he tweeted.
Having won the bronze medal in the 2016 Paralympics, Varun Singh Bhati finished sixth in Tokyo after failing to go past the 1.80m mark.
"Yet to receive 1 crore from 2016"
While this might just be an issue of discrimination, there is something bigger that forced Bhati to speak up today. The 26-year-old is yet to receive the prize money he was promised after winning the bronze medal at Rio Paralympics five years back.
"Varun is yet to receive the money he was promised after winning the bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro. He was supposed to get INR. 1 crore from the Uttar Pradesh government then, but he has not received a single penny," said the high jumper's wife and manager Sneha Bhati to The Bridge.
She further alleges that despite winning the Paralympics medal five years back, her husband still does not have a job.
"It is not only about the money, he was also promised a job as well in January this year but has not received that either. We keep on writing letters and making appeals, they call us to their office and give us a different date. We go again and the circle keeps repeating," Sneha rues.
She stresses that it is a shame that the Paralympians have to ask for equal treatment.
"When the government of India itself has reiterated that Olympians and Paralympians will be treated equally, is it not a shame that the Uttar Pradesh government is not doing so while other states have announced equal rewards?"