Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President Deepa Malik claimed that it was the athletes who forced organisers to conduct some National Para Athletics Championship events at night with the help of mobile phone torch lights at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.
On the sidelines of the championship - a crucial Paralympic qualification event - a defiant Deepa said that the light provided by mobile phone torches was sufficient.
“Many athletes compete in both track and field events, which makes scheduling a challenge. Last night, we gave the athletes the option of redoing their events, but the athletes forced us to hold the events at night. For athletes who were not comfortable with the light last night, we have given them the option of doing their events today afternoon. Also, the athletes in last night's events were not in the visually-impaired category. They were actually in the least disabled category. They are adults who made a choice to compete. I don't think the light was insufficient," Deepa said on Thursday.
Deepa stated that since many tournament officials did not show up, there were delays which forced organisers to hold some events at night. "We were not prepared for such delays," she said.
Deepa also dismissed concerns raised by Sports Authority of India (SAI) regarding COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures like physical distancing not being followed at the championship. “There are hardly 50 people here, and it is an open area. In an open area, even political rallies are allowed. The rules are different for open venues," Deepa said.
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