The 2016 Paralympic Games at Rio de Janeiro started with a scintillating opening ceremony at the Maracana stadium on 7th of September 2016.
It is an event that showcases the capabilities of strong headed individuals who have beaten all the odds and stood undefeated against the plight of disability. As many as 154 countries are participating in the Games, and India has sent their biggest-ever contingent of 19 including three women this time representing 5 sports.
The enthusiastic Indians have cheered for their athletes in Rio summer Olympic Games and grieved over poor performance too. The final badminton match between P V Sindhu and Carolina Marin has stopped the breath of nation and people kept on glued to their seats till the end.
Thanks to the broadcasters who not only telecasted live event but garnished it with expert comments from veterans pre and post main event. But their enthusiasm in covering the Paralympics is somehow fizzled amongst Indian media. The cameras that were lined up at the same venue a month back, are disappeared.
The country who was hunching on medal tally and craving for a single gold has not recognized Mariyappan Thangavelu, an unnamed achiever.
For the readers who are unaware of his name, I expect most of you are, he has bagged high jump gold for India and is the son of a vegetable vendor fighting his means. It is a pity that this event was not telecasted live and assigned a very little space and time in highlights. India is among 65 countries in the world, who are not telecasting Paralympic Games.
In contrast, the United States’ National Broadcasting Company, will be showing more than 70 hours of the Paralympic Games.This apathy towards para athletes in India points towards a gruesome situation.
The inclusion of differently abled into mainstream still looks like a distant dream for a country that celebrates a bronze and silver with so much gusto and a gold from a person who has fought with his adversities is not at all recognized.
The reason that has been cited is huge shortfall of budget for these games and abysmal ticket sales. But a question that creeps my mind is if we are so self-centric and money oriented that we don’t care about boosting the morale of these bravehearts keeping aside our financial gains. We need to understand that their achievements need to be recognized. When the athletes don’t get a media coverage and if their fans do not cheer them, they lose their heart and half of the game. For them it’s the applause which means a lot than anything else. These para athletes are not seeking any sympathy but a due recognition of their honest efforts they had put in soaring Indian tricolor high. All we need to make them realize….they are second to none…we all are with them..always!!!