Blind Indian swimmer, who won silver for India, had to beg on Germany's streets
- Kanchanmala Pande along with five other participants was part of the Para-Swimming Championships in Berlin.
- During the game, she had to face financial issues.
- Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) had failed to provide her with the money, and she had to bear the expenses.
The country is overjoyed after topping the medal tally in Asian Athletics Championship. But at the same time, there is this story of a 21-year-old Indian para-swimmer, Kanchamala Pande, who was forced to beg on streets of Germany all thanks to the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Kanchanmala Pande along with five other participants, had gone to Germany to participate in the Para-Swimming Championships held in Berlin from July 3-9. But after reaching Berlin, Pande to her horror found that the government had failed to send in the money for the team. She then had to resort to begging to support her stay in Germany.
The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) was supposed to send in the money to the players for their stay in Germany.
Talking to Mail Today, Pande said, “I never thought I would face such problems. I had to take a loan of Rs 5 lakh so that I could participate in the tournament.”
“I had to qualify for the World Championships, and I don't know why PCI didn't understand its importance,” said Pande.
Apart from facing financial issues, she also had to participate in a category which she was not supposed to.
“They put my name in 50m Backstroke when it was never my event. I had to write letters to the International Paralympic Committee when a coach was appointed to take care of the swimmers." said Pande
Kanwaljeet Singh, the coach who had accompanied the swimmer went missing after reaching Berlin. "He (Singh) didn't help me at all. I used to go back to the hotel just with my escort, and God knows where he used to be. Once, I took a tram from the tournament venue to my hotel, and I had no money. I had to travel without the ticket and was caught by the checker who later fined me £120 (about Rs 10,000),' said Pande.
Despite the obstacles, Pande went on to win silver and also qualified for the World Championships. The PCI now is blaming SAI for the fiasco.