Same old, same old: National Para Games passes its scheduled date with no tournament

Normally, the field of Para-Sports in India has been ignored a lot over the years, if not completely. One would think that this is due to the field not being particularly promising. However, the reality is quite the opposite.

Para-Sports has been one of India’s most successful fields when it comes to sports, as a whole.

Indian Paralympic athletes have been consistently winning medals on an international stage for a while now. Even though the Para-contingent hasn’t fared that well in the Paralympic Games (Twelve medals in total), the athletes have made India proud in other international competitions.

Medals have become a permanent fixture of the Paralympic contingent and there have been a few broken records too. Most notably, Yogesh Kathuniya broke the world record for Discus throw earlier this month.

Para-Sports has been one of India’s most successful fields when it comes to sports, as a whole.

However, such a plight is not just restricted to Para Sports, in India. To counter this exact situation, the government came up with a scheme called ‘Khelo India’.

Khelo India was to serve as the big sports revolution every Indian sports fan craved for. Under the banner of Khelo India, the Sports Authority of India would organize several multi-sport events for different demographics, such as U-17 (School Games), U-23 (College Games), and many more.

Khelo India Para Games (Nationals)

Khelo India scheme also included under its banner- the Khelo India Para Games.

After the success of the first Khelo India School Games, the Para Games were next in line. The Paralympic Committee of India was to be the main overseer of the Games, with sports ministry covering the funding under their Khelo India programme.

These games would provide a chance for Para-athletes from all over India to showcase their talents in front of the world, while also providing them with funding as per the guidelines of the Khelo India programme.

Normally, the field of Para-Sports in India has been ignored a lot over the years, if not completely. One would think that this is due to the field not being particularly promising. However, the reality is quite the opposite.

Apart from coverage and scholarships, the Khelo India Para Games would have also served as the nationals for Para-sports in India.

Circular sent out but the event did not take place.

The annual Para Games were supposed to take place between June 28 – July 7. However, that date has since been passed, with no update as to when the Para-Games will actually take place.

Instead, a separate tournament under the name of Indian Open Para-Athletics Championship is taking place currently in Bengaluru, with the backing of Khelo India.

The exclusively athletics tournament saw several high benchmarks being set.

According to a Powerlifter, who was expected to take part in this event, the games were pushed back to November.

The Para-athlete spoke to the Bridge and explained the whole situation.

“The Khelo India Para-Games were supposed to take place around June 28th. However, they were pushed back so as to avoid a clash with the Indian Open Para-athletic Championship,“he said.

“We were told that the games were postponed till November, via a phone call. No official announcement has been made regarding the same,” the Powerlifter explained.

However, according to a Sports Authority of India official, the National Para Games are still in the proposal stage. The dates will only be revealed once the proposal is accepted, the official revealed to the Bridge.

This raises a lot of questions. Why did the games not take place on their scheduled dates? Why was there no official release regarding the delay? Why weren’t the athletes properly informed? If the Games are still in the proposal stage, when will they take place? Will they take place at all?

What does this indicate?

Negligence, at first. Complacency, if you look at it more closely.

It shows that even though the government is willing to take steps in the right direction, there is still complacent attitude. An event as big as this and the Para-athletes have not even received an official statement regarding its status. One Para-coach even said that the National Games have been shelved, i.e, they won’t take place at all.

Also read: I find no reason for the distinction between Paralympians and Olympians | By Sachin Choudhary

It was a welcomed move when the government announced Khelo India programme at first. There was suddenly a new hope for many sports disciplines and disciples. However, old standards are once again starting to show; and what once promised to be the revolution Indian sports craved for, is turning out to be a nightmare.

It is quite clear that Para-sports require much more attention than they are getting right now. It is a shame that one of India’s most successful sporting fields is not even getting the attention it deserves.

What next?

Satyapal Singh, India’s Para-athletics coach, had said in an interview to The Bridge earlier this week that it’s not like the government doesn’t help, but they can do slightly more for Para Sports.

This comes out as the whole conclusion of this ordeal. Yes, the government took steps in the right direction by covering Para-sports under Khelo India but have so far failed to oblige to those steps; and even though the Indian open Para-athletics championships go on in Bengaluru, we still have no official word on when Khelo India’s multi-sport Para event will take place.