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"Support needed for physically challenged sportsmen"

Staff Reporter

Commonwealth Games hero bemoans government apathy



TRUE WINNER: Mohammed Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot (centre), honours Commonwealth Bronze medal winner J. Ranjith Kumar at a function in Chennai on Saturday. Hakim Syed Khaleefathullah patron, AIHRC, applauds. — PHOTO: S. THANTHONI

CHENNAI: "I am really hoping the Central and State governments will give me some financial support," said J. Ranjith Kumar, bronze medal winner in the 18th edition of the Commonwealth Games held in Australia recently.

Members of the All India Handicapped Rehabilitation Centre (AIHRC) and the Disabled People's Welfare Federation felicitated the discuss throw champion here on Saturday.

In the 16 events organised for the physically challenged, there were 12 entrants from India.

Mr. Ranjith Kumar was the only Indian to win a medal for the country in the category.

Specialised coaching

Based in Madurai, he "sells seasonal goods" for a living. He identified the sportsman in him after he met his coach at a function.

Though his local coach has been training him well, he blamed the absence of specialised coaching in our country for the physically challenged, in particular, for his not having won the Commonwealth Gold.

"I wish our governments give me all the support other Commonwealth winners will receive," he said. He said he was counting on monetary assistance and systematic training from the government for his growth.

The Indian Olympic Association has chosen Ranjith Kumar, recipient of several international titles, to represent the nation in the World Championship for the Disabled to be held in the Netherlands this September.

"I went with other Indian sportsmen (those without disability) to Australia. But in September, since all of us would be physically challenged sportsmen, we would require a great amount of support from the government," he said.

Mohammed Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot, said he was delighted to be part of the function. "If God takes away something, he gives immense talent in one field or the other," he said.

He inaugurated coaching centres for volleyball, cricket and athletics for the physically challenged at the Government Madras-I-Azam school.

P.N. Bhavani Shankar, national volleyball coach, Hakim Syed Khaleefathullah, patron,

AIHRC, Hakim Syed M Ameen, chairman AIHRC were among others present.

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