'Disabled' not abled at the meet

'Disabled' not abled at the meet

'Disabled' not abled at the meet

Many international coaches, athletes and delegates were appalled by the ‘chaos’ and ‘terrible lack of facilities for persons with disability’ at the event, and they made their displeasure known.

According to a source, the angry team managers attended a technical meeting earlier in the day, where they voiced their protest against everything - from transport to toilets.
“Some teams are so disturbed that they are talking of going back if things do not improve in a day or two,” the source added.

“This must be the most chaotic sports event I’ve ever attended,” said one of coaches of the 42-member German team, who is still trying to figure out a way to get her team to the ‘warm-up’ area, which has no ramp for wheelchair access.

Small cars
If that weren’t insensitive enough, most of the participants – amputees and wheelchair bound sportspersons – who are staying in hotels like The Chancery Pavilion, have been struggling to cram themselves and their wheelchairs into the small cars that arrive to pick them and ferry them to the stadium.

“The sad part is that everyone’s waiting outside the hotel or on the pavement for the vehicles which never arrive on time. For instance, if they’re scheduled to pick up the team at 4 pm they arrive around half past four or a quarter to five. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it is for the amputees to be kept waiting? While the IWAS team of international officials and delegates is simply superb, the local organisers are something else!,” remarks another coach of the German team.

Just outside Gate 3 of the stadium, there’s plenty of activity prior to the opening ceremony as stilt walkers and folk dancers put up their show and teams from Brasil, Russia and Japan marvel at the colourful costumes. Then, someone asks where the toilets are, and there’s a collective shudder.  “So far, I’ve managed to hold on because it’s only a few hours a day that we’re here. I wait to return to the hotel to use the bathroom. But when the meet starts tomorrow, I really don’t know what I’ll do,” a participant says with consternation.

When asked why basic facilities like ramps or restrooms for an event like IWAS weren’t given enough thought, Rattan Singh, President, Paralympic Committee of India, only replied, “I am full of tension now. Please speak to me later.”