We cannot have an escort for every athlete in the Games Village, say team officials
Controversy broke out on Sunday among the Indian Paralympic team as an athlete complained about non-availability of escorts even as team officials sought to downplay the issue.
Powerflifter Farman Basha said he was not provided with an escort and it had affected his performance in the London Paralympic Games.
“I do not have an escort here and even my coach was not allowed to stay with me. I have been in London since August 11 and our federation representatives promised that all arrangements will be made but nothing has been taken care of,” said Basha, who is competing in the men’s 48kg PO classification powerlifting event.
“My escort was supposed to take me to the dining area, which is half kilometre away but he was not available. Only one escort is here for all of us. It is very difficult for us to move around in wheelchairs. I was confident of a medal but now all my training has gone in vain,” he said.
‘Doing our best’
Officials accompanying the team, however, said they were trying to manage as best as possible with the number of persons authorised to stay inside the Games Village.
“We cannot have an escort for every athlete. We have 10 athletes and only six people have been sanctioned to stay inside the Games Village. We are managing things with some people coming early at the Village and leaving late in the evening,” an official said.
“The few people available will have to manage and escort the 10 athletes. We are doing that and managing things.”
Amit Kumar, who is competing in men’s discus-throw, F51/52/53 category, said officials were doing their best under the circumstances.
“I don’t know [whether] the athletes of other countries also face these kinds of issues. But our officials are doing their best. Each of us cannot get a coach and an escort,” he said.