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India's Paralympic body suspended for Ghaziabad fiasco, sports ministry issues notice

The International Paralympic Committee has suspended the Paralympic Committee of India for indefinite period for infighting within the national body and shoddy treatment meted out to athletes during the National Para-Athletics Championships at Ghaziabad last month 

New Delhi: The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) for an indefinite period following "individual conflicts at the national level between different groups and persons".

Following an inquiry, the sports ministry on Friday also issued a show-cause notice to PCI, asking the National Sports Federation (NSF) why it should not be derecognised.

This development comes after the PCI came under the scanner for providing inadequate and poor facilities during the National Para-Athletics Championships last month in Ghaziabad.

IPC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Xavier Gonzalez on April 15 wrote a letter, made public on Friday, to PCI president Rajesh Tomar saying that they are suspending the NSF.

"With this letter, we would like to inform you that we have taken the decision to suspend the PCI with immediate effect and for an unlimited period of time. We regret to have had to take that decision. However, the situation in the PCI has been chaotic for several years now which is mostly due to individual conflicts at the national level between different groups and persons," Gonzalez wrote from Bonn.

"The IPC has for all this time always tried to help and support its official member. Unfortunately, to this day, it seems that a lot of unresolved conflicts are still undermining the development of the Paralympic movement in India and this situation does not bring any positive outcome for the athletes."

The letter added that PCI will remain suspended until IPC has "enough guarantee that an understanding between the various parties has been found at the national level and that a sustainable solution has been worked out for the long-term benefit and development of the athletes".

The suspension means that Indian athletes will not be allowed to enter any IPC-sanctioned competition, including next year's Paralympic Games at Rio de Janeiro.

In response, the sports ministry also issued a show-cause notice to PCI following the "poor conduct" of the 15th National Para Athletics Championships which were held from March 20 to 22.

Following media reports about the "poor conduct" of the competition, an enquiry was conducted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) which then submitted the report to the ministry "that the venue did not have facilities for conduct of a National Championship and also lacked allied facilities required for differently-abled athletes, such as ramps, disabled-friendly toilets, lodging facilities etc".

The notice further said that "the participants were provided limited bedding and made to sleep on the floor. There were no proper arrangements for drinking water and most of the bathrooms were non-functional. The actual number of participants (athletes and officials) were far more than the registered ones".

The PCI was recognised in November 2011 as an NSF.

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