Disabled players are telling how their rain will fall and medals
Hope from Mission Excellence, but got help in the beginning: Shweta Sharma
When I started in 2016, there were a lot of problems. There was conflict at every stage. Despite winning medals in sports, para players do not have job security. I didn’t even have job security. So my struggle is understandable. The Mission Excellence Plan was launched in 2018 which started in 2019. The scheme has raised hopes, but national level players are still getting help from the government. No help is given at the initial stage. A player initially needs this kind of help to move forward, which brings out his talent. Previously there was no awareness of para players and sports. Things have changed a bit now, but these players need a lot of help to move forward.
(Shahdara’s Shweta Sharma has won several national medals in shot put and javelin throw. Shweta is a single mother and both sons live with her.)
Talent will come out if job security is provided: Dolly Gola
There are many more steps being taken by the Delhi government to promote para players, but disabled players like me do not get much encouragement in Delhi. If, like other states, the disabled get job security in Delhi, many hidden talents will come to light. Currently, any scholarship or assistance from the government is available only when the players show their performance to the government. Before that the player has to struggle at his own expense. If he gets hurt, he has to bear his own expenses. Only by promoting talent at the school and college level can we bring forth new talent.
(Dolly Gola (Discus Throw), a para player from Bhajanpura, who has won several medals at the national level, won a silver medal at the 19th National Paralympic Games in March this year.)
When policies are made, players with disabilities should also be included: Neeraj Yadav
At the stadium level in Delhi, there is adequate infrastructure for disabled players. There has also been a lot of improvement in schools and colleges, but I think the policies for disabled players should include disabled players. This is because only the disabled understand the problem of the disabled, his state of mind.
I am of the view that disabled coaches should also be appointed for the training of disabled players. This increases the confidence of the disabled player. The most important time for a disabled player is when he starts training. If his morale is broken at that time, he cannot move forward. In such a situation, disabled players need to initially get an environment and a coach who can motivate them and see who the players will be motivated towards. Currently, there is a shortage of disabled coaches even at the college level.
In addition, financial assistance for the disabled is important. They have to spend more than normal players. In many cases, it is seen that there is discrimination in financial aid against the disabled. That shouldn’t happen. If we want disabled players to make a name for themselves internationally, then there should be a livelihood for the disabled.
(Javelin thrower Neeraj Yadav, who lives in the Khanpur area of Delhi and won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, also holds three national records and is gearing up for the upcoming Games.)
Wandering for a job even after winning a silver medal in the Asian Games: Vijay Kumar
I think disabled players have to struggle more than normal people to reach the top. Divyang players are often discriminated against. If the society wants disabled players to come forward and do well in sports, then discrimination against disabled players should end.
Players do not discriminate against each other but sometimes this happens at the administrative level. For example, several times upon arrival at the stadium it appears that the other players are practicing, then the guard stops them and their teammates outside the stadium. Now this administration should understand that if I go from East Delhi to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium or Thyagaraja Stadium for practice, how will I get there in case of traffic problems. After all, a player is a player, whether he is normal or disabled. He only enters the field for the honor of the country.
My hoardings were put up, congratulations when I arrived after winning the silver medal in the log jump at the Asian Games in 2018, but since then I have been wandering for employment for two and a half years now. When ordinary players come out victorious, they are showered with prizes. Many governments offer jobs but we have to struggle for a living. If disabled players are to be encouraged, these problems need to be addressed. In the past we used to get cash prizes that almost didn’t exist.
Adding diet and practice, we used to spend 40-50 thousand rupees per month. Now, through several schemes of the Central and State Governments, big players get some money for training and practice, but even today new players have to start by spending money out of their pockets. Lack of infrastructure and other facilities related to practice also have to be faced. If we want good players to win medals, governments should look at facilities for practice and training.
(Para Athlete from New Ashok Nagar, East Delhi and World No. 2 in his category, Vijay Kumar has been active in sports for the last 13-14 years and has won 35-40 medals nationally and internationally so far.)
The government should develop special infrastructure for the disabled: Vikas Dagar
Before 201, there were not many facilities for disabled players in Delhi. There has been a lot of improvement in this area since the launch of the Mission Excellence Plan in 2019. Under the scheme, the government provides assistance of up to Rs 12 lakh for the training of para-athletes, so that the players can train at home and abroad. However, due to Kovid, the scheme has been stalled for a year and a half. Divyang players find it difficult to come to practice in large stadiums.
The government has suggested that if it builds a small stadium locally, disabled players can practice near their homes. Currently, there are many stadiums in Delhi. Getting there has to do with transportation problems. Players with disabilities have to carry an assistant with them. In this case, the travel costs double. Initially, I participated in sports competitions in Colombia, Dubai and Tunisia at my own expense. If I didn’t do this, no one would recognize me today. Currently the government is helping disabled players but it should be increased so that disabled students studying in schools and colleges can also come forward in sports.
(Najafgarh para runner Vikas Dagar has won 22 international and 12 national medals in long jump and 100 meters since 2013. Dagar, who showed his talent in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games, also won the Delhi government’s biggest state sports award. Works at school and coaches Divyang children at the stadium at Kakraula, Najafgarh.)
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