Now that the Asian Games are over, Guangzhou (China) is now hosting the first ever 2010 Asian Para Games, which will be held from December 12-19. A sports event for Asian athletes with disability, 19 different sporting events will be held at these Games, including Wheelchair Basketball.
But unfortunately for the team hoping to represent India's Wheelchair Basketball team, there will be no opportunity for them to show their skills at this event. India has a seven-member basketball team from the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre which has been practicing for this event for the past six months, but have been told that the Union Sports Ministry has no funds to sponsor them to China.
This is from an enlightening article written by Pranav Kulkarni for Indian Express:
“We were hoping against hope that the government would sponsor us, but a week ago, the Ministry conveyed to us that it has no money to ensure our participation and that it was too late to do anything,” said team captain Anthony Pereira.
The rehabilitation centre officials had been writing to the Sports Ministry for months, but received no response. Director Dr (Lt Col) SP Jyoti said, “Till 2006, it was the Indian Army that was funding us, but this year the Union Government has funded all teams, except this team. I fail to understand why.”
The team members — Pereira, V Nadar, TR Kulkarni, Prem Singh, CY Reddy, KN Reddy, K Shyamal Raju — had all become paraplegics during their service with the Indian Army. They have represented the country at various national-level wheelchair basketball tournaments and over four FESPIC games, including Busan in 2002 and Malaysia in 2006
Go to indianexpress.com to check out the rest of this amazing story.
This is pretty depressing news. If you check out their quotes from the rest of the story, you will see that the Indian Wheelchair Basketball players are obviously very passionate about the sport and about competing. They have been playing together for a few years, and this was a big stage for them to showcase their skills.