[AI] How families and coteries are ruining disabled sports in India

pradeep banakar pradeepsocialwork at gmail.com
Fri Jul 16 09:21:44 EDT 2010

How families and coteries are ruining disabled sports in India
15 Jul, 2010 0432hrs IST TNN[ Rema Nagarajan ]

m.timesofindia.com/PDATOI/articleshow/6169636.cms -

The disability sports sector in India seems to be in gross disarray
with the administration of the sector in the stranglehold of a coterie
of people who seem to have no interest in either the disabled or in
sports. National disabled sporting federations seem to be run like
mom-and-pop outfits with hardly any national character.

Yet, not only does the sports ministry seem blind to such obvious
mismanagement, it seems to be actively funding and perpetuating these
outfits shelling out public money in crores every year to these
organisations in the name of promoting sports for the disabled.

The rot seems to start right from the apex body of disability sports,
the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI). The PCI is headed by the
president Ratan Singh whose son Amar Singh is the vice-president. Amar
Singh's son, Raghavendra Singh is an escort or so-called professional
masseuse for disabled sports teams. He is too young with no
professional qualification to be a sports masseur. Yet, he gets
selected, despite qualified persons in sports medicine with
professional training in sports massage being available, says a
disabled sportsperson on conditions of anonymity. Sportspersons are
scared of speaking out against the office bearers who have a vice-like
grip over their sporting careers, a threat they seem to use to good
effect in keeping them from protesting.

When contacted, Ratan Singh admitted to the problem of office bearers
signing up as escorts and managers. "Office bearers accompany teams as
they can sort out any problem easily. I can do little about this. But
as you can see, my son and I are not signed up for any team. My
grandson is there for being a qualified masseuse. I did not make the
selection," said Singh.

Every single office bearer of PCI has listed himself as manager or
escort with various teams accompanying them to countries like the US,
Germany, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, Spain and so on. KR Shankar
Iyer, the treasurer of PCI, is listed as an escort for the athletics
and volleyball teams and manager for the wheelchair fencing team. CV
Raghunath, administrator of PCI, is listed as an escort for athletics,
volleyball and the powerlifting teams. M Mahadev, the secretary of the
PCI, is listed to accompany the athletics and volleyball teams.

The office bearers of national federations for each sport do what is
done in PCI, which is to list themselves as escorts and managers or
appoint themselves as the coach and take their wives along as escorts.
Quite understandably, these so-called coaches, managers and escorts
are of little help to the disabled sportspeople when they go abroad as
they are allegedly too busy on jaunts and sightseeing with their wives
and friends who accompany them as team escorts.

Each so-called national federation is single-city based, filled with
people from the same city and no national representation. For
instance, powerlifting is run from Nagpur, swimming from Gwalior and
athletics from Bangalore. The PCI, the overarching national body for
all disability sports is controlled by a bunch of people in Bangalore.

The selection of sportspersons from all over the country for different
sports is decided by small coteries of people of one city and
allegations of irregularities in selection are common. It is the
sportspersons who suffer the consequences of such mismanagement. Last
month, the athletics team that was supposed to be in Germany for an
international meet could not go as those responsible did not apply for
the visa in time.

Most teams don't even have basic sports equipment such as the swimming
team not have approved swimming costumes or the table tennis team does
not have wheelchairs.

Despite these malpractices being pretty obvious in the team lists for
each sport submitted by PCI to the ministry as Long Term Development
Plan 2010, the sports ministry seems oblivious to it and the
allocation to these federations has been rising steadily every year
going from about Rs 10 lakh in 2005 to over Rs 5 crore in 2010.

(Source: Long Term Development Plan 2010 submitted by PCI to sports ministry)

List of office bearers of various sports


Raghavendra Singh, escort: Grandson of PCI president, Ratan Singh and
son of Amar Singh, PCI vice-president
M Mahadev, team manager: Secretary of PCI
David Premnath, coach: General secretary of Wheelchair Basketball
Federation of India
CV Raghunath, escort: Administrator of PCI
Diana Joyline D'Souza, escort: Was personal secretary to PCI president
KR Shankar, escort: Treasurer of PCI


VK Dabas, coach: Secretary of Paralympic Swimming Federation of India,
also runs Paralympic Committee of Madhya Pradesh
Saroj Dabas, escort: Wife of VK Dabas
Suresh Kalra, escort: President of PSFI
Lalit Gupta, escort: Vice-president of PSFI

H Chandrashekar, cpach: Secretary of Volleyball Federation
M Mahadev, escort: Secretary of PCI
Chandrashekar, escort: Joint secretary of PCI

KR Shankar Iyer, manager: Treasurer of PCI

Vijay B Munishwar, coach: President of Paralympic Powerlifting
Federation and also runs Maharashtra State Paralympic Association
Deepali Munishwar, escort: Wife of Munishwar
CV Raghunath, escort: Administrator of PCI

R Murali, coach: Secretary of Paralympic TT Federation
Gopal Babu, escort: Member of executive committee, PTTFI
Shashikala Babu, escort: Wife of Gopal Babu
Satyanarayana, manager: President of PTTFI

More information about the AccessIndia mailing list